Originally published 2016-07-06: The struggle of African American women is told in flashes in Kimberly Scotts The Collection
As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, anthologies are close to my heart. I read a lot of them, and write a lot of them, because I love short fiction. There’s something special about being able to tell an entire story in the length of a book chapter or less that has no comparison.
I was recently approached by author Kimberly Scott about reading and reviewing her short story anthology, The Collection.
The Collection is a compilation of short stories and flash fiction.
“Ms. Addie’s Place” chronicles the story of Nora, a compelling character with a deep secret, who moves into a boarding house for African American women seeking to better themselves. There she meets Ms. Addie, who runs the house. With a turn of events, her secrets grow, but luckily she has Ms. Addie, who will help her protect her secret at all costs.
Set at a funeral, a young girl struggles to cope with the death of her mother, while contemplating where she will live and how to deal with family members in which she is unfamiliar all while coping with being the black sheep of the family as a striking similarity to her deceased mother.
In the story, “Wide Tooth Comb,” Maggie finds herself in a predicament when she goes to extreme measures to avoid getting her hair combed. The trouble Maggie faces for doing away with her hair comb brings about anxiety that can only be erased by “coming clean” and leaving herself at the mercy of her mother.
Living in the world of underground prostitution and balancing being a high school student is no easy task for the main character in “Kat House.” As she compare her life to her classmates, she draws from only the harsh lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Just when she thinks life could not get any better, she is faced with one last difficulty that just may break her.
Tania resents the fact that her brother basically threw his life away, choosing his girlfriend and a baby over the college and football career that he was destined to have in “Rest in Peace.” More than her brother’s choices, she resents his baby’s mother. While reminiscing about the past, the future of all the characters change one fateful night.
These stories and a host of others will keep you turning pages.
A central theme in all of these stories is that the main characters are African American women and girls. Most of them face the kind of choices and traumas some of us will never know based solely on the circumstances of their births, while others put themselves in bad positions and must face the consequences of the choices they’ve made.
The Collection by Kimberly Scott gets three of five stars for being honest and shining a light on the often tragic issues that women of color face in contemporary America.
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I received a complimentary copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.