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Publisher's Summary

Introducing a new star of her generation, an electric debut story collection about mixed-race and African American teenagers, women, and men struggling to find a place in their families and communities. 

When Danielle Evans' short story "Virgins" was published in The Paris Review in late 2007, it announced the arrival of a major new American short story writer. Written when she was only 23, Evans' story of two Black, blue-collar 15-year-old girls' flirtation with adulthood for one night was startling in its pitch-perfect examination of race, class, and the shifting terrain of adolescence. 

Now this debut short story collection delivers on the promise of that early story. In "Harvest", a college student's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront her own feelings of inadequacy in comparison to her White classmates. In "Jellyfish", a father's misguided attempt to rescue a gift for his grown daughter from an apartment collapse magnifies all he doesn't know about her. And in "Snakes", the mixed-race daughter of intellectuals recounts the disastrous summer she spent with her White grandmother and cousin, a summer that has unforeseen repercussions in the present. 

Striking in their emotional immediacy, the stories in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self are based in a world where inequality is reality but where the insecurities of adolescence and young adulthood, and the tensions within family and the community, are sometimes the biggest complicating forces in one's sense of identity and the choices one makes.

©2010 Danielle Evans (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

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Profile Image for Luce Briggi
  • Luce Briggi
  • 12-08-20

Excellent collection of short stories

4 ½ stars

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is a fantastic collection of short stories. Having loved Evans' latest release, The Office of Historical Corrections, I had high hopes for this first collection and it did not disappoint. Each short story delivers, there isn't one 'weak' or boring story. Although they explore similar themes and subjects they offer different perspectives and or they reach contrasting conclusions. Evans' combines heart-rendering scenes with more light-hearted ones, and delivers her sharp commentary—such on race and girlhood—with a delightful side of humour.
I truly enjoyed this collection and I hope Evans will soon be publishing something new.