Sugar and Spice
By Elissa Schappell
Simon & Schuster, $15.00, 320 pages
This book is a collection of thought-provoking short stories by author Elissa Schappell. Within each story, she explores various types of women in different stages of their lives – as teenagers, young adults and grown women with children. Within each story, multiple themes appear, such as being labeled a slut (or a prude which is equally bad), being successful in a career yet immediately opting to be a stay-at-home mom, and keeping up appearances in the face of trauma and illness. The writing is intense and vivid throughout the book; these women come to life on the page, and the reader definitely gets to know them as the stories progress. The women depicted are not the superhuman ideal that is so pervasive in society today; they are simply human – full of flaws, dreams and hopes for a better future for themselves. This book is at once fascinating, disheartening and darkly funny. Fans of women’s literature will enjoy this collection.
Reviewed by Barbara Cothern