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How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories

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Original price $16.00
Original price $16.00 - Original price $16.00
Original price $16.00
Current price $13.99
$13.99 - $13.99
Current price $13.99
A Paris Review Staff Pick and an Amazon Editors' Pick.

"Bold, witty, ominous and vulnerable . . . How to Wrestle a Girl shines in its propensity to magnify small moments, challenge our presumptions and dissect the beauty, danger and wonder of girlhood." —The New York Times Book Review


"This collection of extremely short stories builds its power as it goes along . . . I love how Blackburn lets the rawness into her voice in a number of the stories, many of which push against gender norms and expectations of sexual desire." —Lauren Groff

Hilarious, tough, and tender stories from a farseeing star on the rise


Venita Blackburn’s characters bully and suffer, spit and tease, mope and blame. They’re hyperaware of their bodies and fiercely observant, fending off the failures and advances of adults with indifferent ease. In “Biology Class,” they torment a teacher to the point of near insanity, while in “Bear Bear Harvest™,” they prepare to sell their excess fat and skin for food processing. Stark and sharp, hilarious and ominous, these pieces are scabbed, bruised, and prone to scarring.

Many of the stories, set in Southern California, follow a teenage girl in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death and capture her sister’s and mother’s encounters with men of all ages, as well as the girl’s budding attraction to her best friend, Esperanza. In and out of school, participating in wrestling and softball, attending church with her hysterically complicated family, and dominating boys in arm wrestling, she grapples with her burgeoning queerness and her emerging body, becoming wary of clarity rather than hoping for it.

A rising star, Blackburn is a trailblazing stylist, and in How to Wrestle a Girl she masterfully shakes loose a vision of girlhood that is raw, vulnerable, and never at ease.

ISBN-13: 9780374602796

Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 09-07-2021

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.60(d)

Venita Blackburn is the author of the story collection Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2018 Young Lions Fiction Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker online, The Paris Review, Pleiades, Madison Review, Bat City Review, American Short Fiction, and Bellevue Literary Review. She is a faculty member in the creative writing program at Fresno State University and the founder and president of Live, Write, an organization devoted to offering free creative writing workshops for communities of color.

Format: Paperback