Today I welcome back TLC Book Tours to The Book Binder’s Daughter with a collection of short stories entitled “The Dunning Man.” I invite you to read my review, learn a bit about the author and enter to win your own copy of the book (US/Can).
The stories in this collection all feature men and women who are stuck in unhappy lives and are just trying to do the best they can to live day to day and survive a rather miserable existence. Self-medication with various substances, especially alcohol, is the way in which the characters in these stories manage to muddle through their sad lives.
In the story entitled “Dead”, a man is desperately trying to catch a bus and then a train to meet his girlfriend in Atlantic City for a romantic evening. He has recently lost his job so money is tight, but he has just enough to treat her to a nice weekend. While on the train ride to meet her he takes several different kinds of drugs to give him some confidence and then to calm him down. Then he gets a text from this girl saying she can’t make it at the last minute. Continue reading
I received an advanced review copy of Love Me Back directly from the publisher, Doubleday.
Marie Young is in her senior year of high school she goes on a mission trip with her church to Mexico and while she is on this trip, the trajectory that her life is on takes a turn for the worst. She sleeps with one of the boys on the trip and gets pregnant at the age of 17. The boy agrees to marry her and Marie lasts about a year in the marriage before everything falls apart.
I will warn you that there is a lot of sex in this book. But the sex is not romantic, loving or even erotic. The sex is ugly and drug fueled. Marie is a teenage mother who doesn’t feel connected to her infant daughter. She knows she has a good, loving and supportive husband but she can’t manage to stay faithful to him.
Marie also works in a series of restaurant chains and then she gets a well-paying job as a waitress at a high end steakhouse in Texas. The people she meets at work are some of the most despicable characters you will ever encounter in a book. They also engage in sexual promiscuity and heavy drug use. Marie admits to sleeping with 30 men in a three month period while she works at the steakhouse.
This story also shows us the seedy underbelly of the restaurant and service industry. Workers are on their feet for long hours, they have to constantly deal with difficult customers and cater to their customers’ every needs. Marie drowns herself in her work, in drug use and in having sex to dull the pain of her life. She knows she is not happy, she knows that this is not what she wanted for her life, but what she doesn’t know is how to change it.
Let the reader beware: there are no happy endings in this book. This is a tale of an unhappy women caught in a life that she does not know how to dig herself out of. For those who dare to read LOVE ME BACK, it will show you an unflattering side of life that you might have never thought about.
About The Author:
Merritt Tierce was born and raised in Texas. She worked in various secretarial and retail positions until 2009, when she moved to Iowa City to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as the Meta Rosenberg Fellow.
After graduating in 2011 with her MFA from Iowa, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and she is a 2013 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Author.