My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In films, they typically show people doing one of two things when in the home of someone for the first time, be they a potential friend or foe:
1)snooping in their medicine cabinets or
2)scanning the titles on their bookshelves.
While I’ve never done the first I do the second regularly. If a potential friend still has some of the best young adult fiction alongside the most dense non-fiction titles proudly and to balance them out, then it’s a pretty safe bet we are going to be good friends. The Velveteen Rabbit? Charlotte’s Web? All good signs. However, if I am at the house of a recently-made girlfriend and if I spy upon her shelves a Judy Blume book, or better yet should I zero in on a copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret that looks as battle-weary from the wars of life laid away in books as my own copy now is, then I have a very strong and particular sense wash over me that this is most likely the start of a beautiful friendship indeed. That is the sense of fictive kinship you get reading some of the better essays in this anthology – the shared, hysterical and hard-fought highs and lows that we all went through and keep hidden most of the time but should perhaps consider laying bare to one another more often.