Each of the stories in this little book of just a bit more than 100 pages is poignant as it presents an examination of a societal ill. There are no wasted words in most of the stories. They are straight forward and with knife-like precision, they attack the issues with clarity. Rocker has an intuitive awareness of the plight of women in many different scenarios. Although some of the stories do have some weak spots, overall, they examine and offer coherent illustrations of the pain and suffering a woman must endure in an unjust society which often judges her unfairly and unkindly. The stories are very insightful as the author has seriously gotten into the head of the character she is developing, and the reader will hear their stories in their own voices.
These stories are all about once forbidden or frowned upon behavior; they are about forbidden fruit. A great deal of dysfunction is covered in a few short pages, succinctly, lucidly and logically. The voice of each character in each story is unique, because the characters present with their own unique problems. There are a lot of social issues packed into this small tome which will awaken the mind of the reader to those less advantaged and perhaps encourage an empathetic reaction toward those who are in need, toward those “who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. The photo album was a really nice touch in the story, “Maternity”. It allowed the reader to identify with, and offer support and compassion to, the fictional individuals who were introduced.
There are several common themes in many of the stories: wanted and unwanted pregnancies and children, impaired relationships, the inability to appreciate what one has until it is, perhaps, too late, cruel and unjust decisions made on behalf of others which alter their lives, sometimes irreparably, racism, sexism and the helplessness of all humans in the face of disease, madness and war, things they often have no control over, but still become victims of, and to which they are forced to submit.
This is not a happy book. The reader will not turn the final page and be joyful, but rather the reader will be thoughtful. I believe that Linda Rocker’s intent might have been just that, to awaken the reader to the plight of the disadvantaged, the abused, and the social injustices that have existed and continue to, with no end in sight.