Friday, 25 January 2019
Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin
review by Maryom
I know Anne Goodwin primarily from her two novels - Sugar and Snails, and Underneath, but she's also a prolific writer of short stories. Now, together with publisher Inspired Quill, she's brought together forty-two stories, written between 2004 and 2018, many of them previously published in literary magazines and websites.
To call these stories 'psychological studies' might not be quite accurate, but it's close. In a multitude of scenarios, Goodwin examines how we become ourselves - straining to conform to what family or society expects, rejecting the opinions of others, finding a path for ourselves. All of them share Anne Goodwin's perceptive, sympathetic insights.
The collection is divided into six sections - Stranded in the Dark, No Through Road, No Way Back, Spinning Signposts, Forging a New Path, Into the Light - and, as you might guess from their headings, as you progress through the book the stories become more hopeful, the characters more determined to create the life and identity THEY want, not endure that forced on them by parents, friends, society. The characters - from a young single mum to a dying grandfather - try to reconcile the idea of what they should be with what they are. Some take refuge in an imaginary world. The lucky few refuse to accept society's image of how they should behave and feel, and create an identity to suit themselves.
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Inspired Quill
Genre -adult fiction, short stories