Weekend Rumpus Roundup


First, Brandon Hicks personifies a crucial part of all stories in “The End: A Biography.

Then, in the Saturday Essay, Lisa Ellison recalls the comforting presence of Molly Ringwald on her television screen alongside difficult memories of her mother’s drug and alcohol addiction. “Mom was our Molly,” Ellison says, “a natural redheaded princess who loved makeup and clothes. She was someone who’d also prevailed, emerging from her own version of detention, well-fed, sassy, and ready to teach us the hustle.”

Next, Jeff Lennon reviews the “playful” and “psychologically astute” collection, A Small Story About The Sky, by Alberto Rios. Dualities feature prominently in this book of poems, many of which dip into magical realism. A mastery of meter helps frame Rios’s description of the links between inanimate objects.

Meanwhile,Vanessa Blakeslee’s coming-of-age novel Juventud begins with a moment of maturation for its protagonist, Mercedes, the daughter of a Colombian businessman whose profession becomes a matter of suspicion and speculation. In Liz Matthews’s review, the absence of a “neat ending” makes Blakeslee’s book a good subject for reflection and philosophical inquiry.

Finally, in the Sunday Interview, Zoe Zolbrod talks to Sarah Einstein about her memoir, Mot. The “beautifully written” book details Einstein’s friendship with a homeless, mentally ill man and her refusal to make her work explicitly about activism. Their discussion touches on the “white savior complex,” working towards societal equity, and literary mentorship. Einstein admits:

I made my activist self sit in a chair and stay quiet during the writing of this book, and I only accomplished that by promising her the afterword.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte, tNY.press, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →