Just the title of Melissa Steele’s short story collection leads a reader to expect something different and beguiling. Beautiful Girl Thumb is a collection of original and contemporary tales that will shock you, make you laugh, then, mid-giggle, will smack you upside the head with deep and true revelations. The writing itself is concise and direct, cracking open a world of strange but believable characters and situations.
Diplomacy is a tale of a teenaged boy, not-so-proud member of a group of adolescents who play war games and end up doing something terrible and utterly lacking in diplomacy.
Another notable tale, I’m Your Frankenstein, is a gem. It tells of the loss of friendship between “couple friends,” a sad story we think we’ve lived. Ha. Not with this almost literal rabbit-out-of-a-hat-ending!
We all know “that mom”, the Hilfiger mom who mows down anyone in her path to ensure HER child has a shot at the best after-school program, or the most sought-after music teacher. They Eat Their Young is a painful, yet accurate account of a mother who lines up overnight to ensure her child is registered in the best private school.Undoubtedly, many will also recognize the PTA mom depicted in this story.
The stories all deal with the same day-to-day crap that we all deal with — teenaged breakups, birth, block parties. Where Melissa Steele’s writing really shines is in taking her characters twisting them a quarter-turn into fascinating eccentrics. The people in these stories invite you in, make you part of their crazy, screwed up families. You can almost hear them sigh as they open the door. “Come on in,” they say. “You asked for it.”
You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the ride.