Girl, World
by Alex Poppe
Laughing Fire Press

"Underneath her girl smell is the scent of independence blossoming."

With precision and honesty, Poppe explores the brutal experiences some girls in the world face where men can be creators and destroyers. Poppe’s range as a writer is evident as she moves from heartbreaking to humorous, hopeful to shattering in the span of eight powerful stories. This collection showcases the searing violence women experience in places across cultures and geography. From the Balkans to New York, the women in these stories struggle to overcome the atrocities that have broken apart their lives. The stories feel authentic and true as if these women are real and moving about in the world with all their hopes and sorrows trailing behind them. Poppe’s ability as a writer and as an observer of humanity gives body, soul, and voice to these characters.

“My Mother’s Daughter” leads off the collection with relentless narration that includes the collective we and us to enforce the shared experience of girls powerless and nameless in the captivity of human traffickers. Poppe’s innovative narrative structure snaps the reader to attention as we move along with the girls traveling in a truck toward jobs, hope, and a new life to suddenly stepping out of the truck and into brokenness, abuse, and desperate survival. In another story, “Moxie,” a model is disfigured when a bomb goes off after she leaves a photoshoot. The character of Jax, revealed through exceptional dialogue and vivid internal monologue, has lost her way in life without her beauty to open doors for her. The universal search for identity will appeal to readers in search of something meaningful and deep in a shallow world.

These deeply human stories are stirring and startling and incredibly relevant in the world women face every day. Spending time in the company of these women will elevate your understanding of the realities women experience all over the world.

Girl, World was short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, including the Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Award.

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