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Inside Madeleine : Stories Paperback – 15 May 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: SOHO PRESS (15 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616953098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616953096
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of the stories in this collection are quite short. And at first glance they may not seem like stories, per se, but more like little slice of life vignettes. But they are deceptively simple. Each story leaves a very distinct impression, and a strong sense of something small, but of significance, conveyed. Bomer does an excellent job. She really knows how to write, how to get to the heart of the matter.

The one exception. Spoiler-Alert!! Whereas the first 8 stories show rather than tell (an excellent thing), the 9th story gets a little bogged down by trying to fit within a concept. The protagonist loves to be filled, every which way, and then something bad happens, and she turns into a frigid anorexic (the opposite of wanting to be filled). This concept becomes quite clunky and labored. And, being the longest story by far in the collection, it drags on too long.

That last story neatly dovetails into the very first story, which was a very nice way of creating a sense of wholeness in a short story collection. Very well done. Overall, I would recommend this book highly. Though it's not for everyone. Bomer doesn't pull any punches. But if you want to read a handful of stories that will make a real impression, please give the book a try.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c32a8d0) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9be0e5a0) out of 5 stars Filthy yet fabulous female power writer 31 May 2014
By Thelma Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Paula Bomer's collection of stories and a novella is fierce, funny and filthy. The author of "Baby" and "Nine Months" is not your people-pleasing fiction writer. Her prose is crisp and clear and propulsive but she never pauses to ask: is it pretty? Do you like me? Some of her characters may be doormats seeking and thwarting unconditional love but, as an author, Bomer is brave, often mortifyingly so. Some of these stories are so naked emotionally that they cry out to be covered up with a towel – but Bomer resists, documenting every stretch mark, every gooey sex act, every human hunger. The stories and novella are about adolescents and young women who screw, drink, smoke and suffer toward some sense of identity, and a final nugget of unexpected emotional truth, but they are never blamers. They are fat girls and slim, workers in halfway houses and inmates, college girls tied at the hip to the party keg and Friday night ice skaters slugging back peppermint schnapps, daddy's girls and mommy's enemies. They sometimes echo each other, circling geography in South Bend, Indiana, or Boston, Massachusetts, or the East Village of Manhattan, struggling with anorexia and love-drug addiction. My favorite story is called "Pussies," about a doormat of a young college graduate, all angles and jangly limbs and drunk more often than not. Her relationship with a trust-fund fueled girlfriend goes south when an apartment building catches fire and she rescues the girl's cats but in a desperate survivor's way that alienates the vegan rich girl (but spares the animals). The Madeleine of the title, and main character in the novella that concludes the slim volume, is a Midwestern "Precious," a fat girl whose folds of skin both fascinate her and protect her from a world that continually serves up rejection. These are not dainty stories to be read one at a time. Instead, binge-drink them for the shock value – and stay for the awe.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9be0f134) out of 5 stars Read all night 19 Jun. 2014
By Judith Sutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I never wanted this book to end. Edgy, real life stories about women. I want to read everything this author has written
HASH(0x9b595054) out of 5 stars Brave but Redundant 2 Sept. 2014
By Lassie VeUss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I did find Bomer's stories and style to be "edgy" and "brave," but the redundant characters, settings, and themes made the stories run together and lose their impact. I would have liked to have seen a greater variety of narratives beyond (SPOILER ALERT) escaping a mediocre childhood, going to an elite boarding school/college, becoming obsessed with ones rich best friend (who can't stand you), toying with drugs, and having sex with unworthy men.

As I am in my early thirties, the book transported me to my own time of self-discovery and realization. The collection would have been more profound and shocking if I had read it in my late teens/early twenties--I think the stories speak most to younger women.
By William Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Paula Bomer writes about women like no one else. It's not always easy to read her stories, but somehow I couldn't put the book down. Her writing about girls and their bodies is graphic, honest, compassionate and vulnerable. Really fine writer. Would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Mary Gaitskill, Alissa Nutting, etc.
HASH(0x9c3185a0) out of 5 stars An Important Book--Fierce and Fearless! 6 Sept. 2015
By Terrance Aldon Shaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The title of Paula Bomer’s very fine 2014 collection of quintessentially Midwestern erotic short fiction echoes the title of the final—and longest—story in the book. ‘Inside Madeleine’ is an insightful, sometimes harrowing character study elucidating a tragic circle of life. The title story is thus, in a way, a structural microcosm of the book as a whole; these nine masterfully-crafted stories together reveal a loosely cyclic form, in which we would seem to perceive the transmigration of a woman’s soul through a series of closely-resemblant avatars, constantly revisiting, not only the same places—South Bend Indiana, certain neighborhoods of New York and Boston—but endeavoring repeatedly to overcome the same obstacles, the awkwardness of puberty with its bewildering “grossness”, spirit-crushing humiliations, and its all-too-real growing pains, the fear of imminent adulthood as the fear of the unknown, the search for a mentor who might give this vexed and chaotic life a sense of centeredness and meaning.

Bomer’s language is by turns fierce and abrasive, introspective and disconcertingly explicit; unnerving in its frank intimacy, fearlessly personal, unabashed, trenchant. In the aptly-titled “breasts” the author brilliantly reveals something of her anti-heroine’s turbulent inner life through a starkly unsentimental description of her physical form. And in “pussies” the reader can practically feel the main character’s dread and disappointment at the understanding of her destined place in the scheme of things, the very mortal terror that is the price of self-awareness:

“This was before I knew that we all live on this planet, driving in the cars of our own little minds, our own self-contained worlds. Yes, this was before I knew that, when I thought I mattered, when I thought that people saw me, deep into me, saw all my love and excitement at being alive, saw the very glistening running-overness of my aliveness. But we only matter when we do something awful. Then, someone sees us and only then.”

This is an important book, whether considered as an example of erotically frank coming-of-age fiction, or an exciting example of an emerging “mature literary” approach to story-telling. It will, I suspect, open eyes to realms of possibility, even as it inspires and empowers generations of writers to come.

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