The Best of Animals
By Lauren Grodstein
(Persea Books, Hardcover, 9780892552818, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 2002
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Grodstein has the striking capacity to locate instances of true human vulnerability in her writing, and to portray the pathos, humor, and surprising moments of hope therein. In "Lonely Planet, " an ad exec halfheartedly consoles and then desperately fondles her drunken best friend after a breakup; in "Family Vacation, " etiquette breaks down among relatives stuck in an immobilized monorail at Disney World; and, in "Hey, Beautiful, " a college senior can't take the heat in that epicenter of self-loathing and humiliation -- the singles bar. Throughout The Best of Animals, Grodstein gives us teens and twentysomethings frozen in the headlights of oncoming adulthood. This first collection, full of implicit insight, marks the emergence of a fresh literary voice.