Barbara the Slut and Other People (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Girlfriends, boyfriends, siblings, dogs: the ways we form relationships are the core of this phenomenal debut collection of stories about sex, friendship, and breakdowns in communication. Every story in this book is so viscerally real, whether it’s a teenager enduring a family road trip to break up with her long-distance boyfriend, a worker in an STD clinic giving bad news, or a young woman pretending to be gay to work in a sex toy shop. All right, that last one’s a little out there, but no matter how outrageous some of the circumstances may seem, Holmes hits perfectly on the vulnerabilities, insecurities, and buried needs that live in us all.


— From #BrazosBest Picks for August

August 2015 Indie Next List

“Holmes' stories are powerful, sweet, tenderhearted, and honest depictions of contemporary experience. She navigates the thresholds of relationships, sex, and life-changing choices with poignancy and authenticity, bringing lovably imperfect characters to life through their struggles to negotiate the demands of culture as they strive to balance personal decisions and desires. A bold and beautiful debut.”
— Sarah Nemire (E), Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI


"Holmes trains a precise lens on the millennial generation's mixed bag of manners, mores, and machinations... In these] beautifully brazen stories, worlds collide in fresh, imaginative ways." --Elle
A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.
Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves.
In "Desert Hearts," a woman takes a job selling sex toys in San Francisco rather than embark on the law career she pursued only for the sake of her father. In "Pearl and the Swiss Guy Fall in Love," a woman realizes she much prefers the company of her pit bull--and herself--to the neurotic foreign fling who won't decamp from her apartment. In "How Am I Supposed to Talk to You?" a daughter hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her flighty, estranged mother to resell there, wondering whether her personal mission--to come out--is worth the same effort. And in "Barbara the Slut," a young woman with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter, and a love of sex navigates her high school's toxic, slut-shaming culture with open eyes.
With heart, sass, and pitch-perfect characters, Barbara the Slut is a head-turning debut from a writer with a limitless career before her.

About the Author

Lauren Holmes grew up in upstate New York. She received a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Hunter College, where she was a Hertog Fellow and a teaching fellow. Her work has appeared in Granta, where she was a 2014 New Voice, and in Guernica. Holmes lives in New York's Hudson Valley.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781594633782
ISBN-10: 1594633789
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English