Review: Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher

I sometimes have a hard time connecting to short stories, as I am often left wanting more. I was drawn to this collection mainly because it’s published by University of Iowa Press (my alma mater) and won the Iowa Short Fiction Award.

I am very glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone. These ten stories are all about smart women in different stages of their lives and the choices they are faced with, each on their own search for happiness and fulfillment. The writing is just gorgeous, the characters all unique and real, and I saw a little of myself in more that one of their internal explorations. There’s a story about a professional ballet dancer who has recently ended a pregnancy that just floored me. A story about a family of four each dealing with their own issues and coexisting that felt authentic. Themes of loss and new beginnings throughout, with wit and humor sprinkled throughout. I took my time with these stories and I’m really surprised with how connected I was to each one. Fantastic storytelling, and I look forward to more from this author.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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