Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Manual for How to Love Us by Erin Slaughter


Do you ever read short stories? How do they fit in with your reading style?

I love keeping a few on hand honestly. To me they are great for a reading slump, or a good cure for a book hangover.

A Manual of How to Love us is a quirky collection of short stories, some of them reading more like poetry than a short story, which comes to no surprise as the author has published two books of poetry.


A debut, interlinked collection of stories exploring the primal nature of women’s grief—offering insight into the profound experience of loss and the absurd ways in which we seek control in an unruly world.

Seamlessly shifting between the speculative and the blindingly real, balancing the bizarre with the subtle brutality of the mundane, A Manual for How to Love Us is a tender portrait of women trying their best to survive, love, and find genuine meaning in the aftermath of loss.

In these unconventional and unpredictably connected stories, Erin Slaughter shatters the stereotype of the soft-spoken, sorrowful woman in distress, queering the domestic and honoring the feral in all of us. In each story, grieving women embrace their wildest impulses as they attempt to master their lives: one woman becomes a “gazer” at a fraternity house, another slowly moves into her otherworldly stained-glass art, a couple speaks only in their basement’s black box, and a thruple must decide what to do when one partner disappears.

The women in Erin Slaughter’s stories suffer messy breaks, whisper secrets to the ghosts tangled in the knots of their hair, eat raw meat to commune with their inner wolves, and build deadly MLM schemes along the Gulf Coast.

Set across oft-overlooked towns in the American South, A Manual for How to Love Us spotlights women who are living on the brink and clinging to its precipitous edge. Lyrical and surprisingly humorous, A Manual for How to Love Us is an exciting debut that reveals the sticky complications of living in a body, in all its grotesquerie and glory.


I've read two of the stories so far, so you may see me talking more about this book as I get it out from time to time. I read the first story named "Anywhere" which is a story of two young women who escape the life they knew to start somewhere else on the other side of the country. It was a quick but raw story of trust with a side of abandonment fears. 

The next I read was section two, called A Manual of How to Love Us, the book's namesake. I had to absolutely read this one. This read more like a poem to me, the abstract thoughts of putting life to words, such as thorns, tongue, stranger, etc. It was a refreshing change of pace for me, I almost never read poetry and I really enjoyed this.

A Manual for How to Love Us was published March 14, 2023 and is available at  Amazon and Bookshop.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

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