Monday, January 10, 2022

Book Review: Shapeshifting

Listen, I know it's been a hot minute since I've been around (OK, more like a full month), but to my credit, I've been super busy. Doing the whole mom thing, then being so dizzy and sick I can't function (more on that soon), and then we went to Florida for Christmas, and now I'm trying to put everything Christmas away and restore some damn order in this house because my anxiety cannot take it another day. 

So you know, just some leisurely activities. 

Shapeshifting - Michelle Ross

The fourteen spellbinding stories in Michelle Ross’s second collection invite readers into the shadows of social-media perfectionism and the relentless cult of motherhood. A recovering alcoholic navigates the social landscape of a toddler playdate; a mother of two camps out in a van to secure her son’s spot at a prestigious kindergarten; a young girl forces her friends to play an elaborate, unwinnable game. With unflinching honesty and vivid, lyrical prose, Ross explores the familial ties that bind us together—or, sometimes, tear us apart.

I haven't read a collection of short stories in a long while, in fact, I can't even remember what they were even for, but this one? This was lovely. Though the book only contains 14 stories and coming in just over 200 pages long, this packs a punch. Normally when I read something like this, I read one story at a time, it's perfect for setting the book down and reading in short spurts as I have time, which is exactly what I thought I would do with this one. Instead, I found myself glued to my couch, flying through one after another, because each one is a gem all of its own, snippets of motherhood that you might identify with. 

Once I finished this, I decided that I wanted to be the author's friend, attend a book tour stop for this, and/or go out to dinner because the conversation would be absolutely lovely and she could write her entire next short story collection just on me and my stories. (Truly, Michelle, if you've hit a writer's block, hit me up, because I will fix it!) The awkwardness of playdates is perfectly highlighted, comparing a mother's existence to used wrapping paper, the competitiveness of being a mom and making sure we get our children the best of the best opportunities (knowing full well I am 100% guilty of this myself), feeling like you're a bad mom and everyone can see it, etc. Bottom line? If ever you need a book that will make you feel absolutely seen as a mom, this is it. Looking for a fun book to put in a baby gift? Or need an idea for a Mother's Day gift for your friend who just really wants to be seen as anything other than a food source? 


I finished this and immediately bought two copies for a couple of friends who are really struggling with this whole motherhood set up because honestly, we could all use a little extra right now. Being a mom is really hard. Being a mom right now is even harder. Being a mom, right now, in a pandemic and the uncertainty of the world, is the absolute worst, so kudos to Michelle Ross for not only putting this out there but making it completely funny and relatable at the same time. 

A huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Stillhouse Press for having me on this tour, I cannot tell you how excited I am to read Michelle's next book. I am here for short story collections, bonus if they can make me laugh as I sit under a therapy light eating ice cream, because that's what life is now.  

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1 comment:

MichelleR said...

Sara, thank you so much for this incredibly kind review! And for gifting my book to friends! (And I might just hit you up for some material :))