Elizabeth McKenzie's novel-in-stories, Stop That Girl is one of the best books I've read this year. The book follows Ann Ransom, the quirky, thoroughly lovable narrator from childhood to adulthood. What ties the individual stories together other than the gorgeously flawed characters is McKenzie's crystaline prose and sharp wit.
In the beginning story, young Ann is sent to Europe with her grandmother (mumsy but Ann calls her simply "Dr. Frost")while Ann's mother has her second child. When her mother has recovered sufficiently from the birth, Ann and the doctor fly back to LA and Ann meets her sister for the first time. In the airport she picks her up against her mother's wishes:
"That's it. I start to run. After carrying my suitcase all over Europe, she's only a tiny bundle.
My mother says, 'Wait! Stop!'
It was the beginning of my future, and I had the thought at that moment there was no one in the world who would ever understand my version of things. I plunged through the crowd, holding my sister close to me. I heard my mother crying out, my grandmother barking commands, and Roy Weeks shouting, 'Stop that Girl!' But no one seemed to connect them to me, so no one stood in my way."
If you want a laugh-out-loud read, this is the book for you!
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.