Virgin and Other Stories
If love is complicated, sex is even more so, not to mention confusing. This collection of short stories by award-winning author April Ayers Lawson explores various sexually-charged themes, from a woman who struggles with sexual intimacy after getting married (“Virgin,” the title story) to a boy who struggles both with his budding teenage sexuality and the fact that his mother’s best friend is transgender (“The Negative Effects of Homeschooling”). Each protagonist is unique, with their own nuanced voice, and each story explores a wide variety of topics, including infidelity, the role of religion in sexuality, abuse, and more. Each of these stories is a satisfying length, long enough for readers to become immersed and invested in each character but not so long that the stories become dull or tedious. Lawson writes with a sense of clarity that cuts through the clutter of her characters’ minds and gets to the heart of their emotions while still reveling in their internal struggles. This collection is one that is meant to be savored, one readers can linger over and turn over in their minds as they contemplate the ideas that are raised.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux