Book Review: Twenty Grand by Rebecca Curtis

Posted October 7, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 16 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug use, alcohol use, language, and/or violence.
Book Review: Twenty Grand by Rebecca CurtisTwenty Grand and Other Tales of Love and Money by Rebecca Curtis
Published by Harper Perennial on July 3rd 2007
Genres: Adult fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
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In this dazzling literary debut, Rebecca Curtis displays the gifts that make her one of the most talented writers of her generation. Her characters—young women struggling to find happiness, love, success, security, and adventure—wait tables, run away from home, fall for married men, betray their friends, and find themselves betrayed as well.
In "Hungry Self," a young waitress descends into the basement of a seemingly ordinary Chinese restaurant; in "Twenty Grand," a young wife tries to recover her lost fortune; in "Monsters," one family's paranoia leads to a sacrifice; and in "The Witches," an innocent swim on prom night proves more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. With elegant prose and a wicked sense of humor, these stories reveal Curtis's provocative and uncompromising view of life, one that makes her writing so poignant and irresistible.

Main Points
This book was, truly, very depressing and somewhat creepy. Ok, very creepy. It seemed to me that Rebecca, in her writing, was very courageous and very risky. She wrote, here, the sort of things that no one writes about, or is afraid to write about. How things really are, I suppose, but no one wants to admit. I realized, while reading this, that this is exactly my writing style. If I were to write something, it would be like this. I like awkward stories. I like truth, and not covering it up. This book had moments that scared me, and several moments where I could not believe what I was reading, and didn’t want to, and thought, ‘Surely there is a better ending, or a more realistic one?’ But that was silly. Of course, if these stories were real, the ending would be exactly as she had written, and I applaud her for that.
Writing Style
Several things were odd about her writing style. For instance, she changed tenses several times. Somebody would do something (in great detail), somebody did do something, or somebody is doing something. It wasn’t too terribly distracting except in the first story. Another thing was her blatant, almost recalcitrant refusal to use quotation marks when someone was talking. Until the third-to-last story. It was not hard to follow, the way she did it, it was just a little confusing at first. But I liked it. It seemed to fit, this awkward style of punctuation (or lack thereof), with her awkward stories. She also did not censor anything. Cursing was frequent, and there were a few mildly graphic scenes, but not many.
The stories were very well thought out, and well executed. She covered a lot of controversial issues, and made up quite a few words. It was impressive. I never could predict what the story was about until near the end, and then it would either become painfully clear or it would leave me wondering, ‘what was she trying to say here? Was there even any point at all?’ But it was still very satisfying.
Awkward characters. Honest characters. Scary characters. Plain characters. Predictable characters. This book had it all. Because this was a series of short stories, I cannot go into details, but I will say that I did not like any particular character more than the others.
Bottom Line
I liked this book. Will I have nightmares? Possibly. Will I be thinking a lot about what she has written? Yes. This book was short, the stories were short, but the messages were deep and deserve consideration. Would I read more by Rebecca? Probably not, because I don’t want them to spoil my image of her writing. To me, she is this book, and these stories, and I want to keep that ideal.

Similar To:
Anything by Edgar Allan Poe (:

About Rebecca Curtis

Rebecca Curtis is an American writer. She is the author of Twenty Grand and Other Tales of Love & Money and has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, NOON, and other magazines.

Overall: three-stars


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