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The Poor Children
By April L. Ford
Santa Fe Writers Project
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
I admit, I was not expecting the unrelenting harshness and bleak outlook of April Ford's The Poor Children when first picking it up, and it took some getting used to before I was finally into the swing of things and along for the ride she clearly meant to set up for her readers; imagine the rural lawlessness of a Bonnie Jo Campbell story combined with the gothic blackness of Sam Shepard, with a healthy dollop of Dennis Cooper sexual transgression thrown into the mix. As such, then, this short and intense story collection is absolutely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and you deserve to ask yourself whether you're even up for reading the the kinds of mental baseball bashings these pieces represent; but if you are, you'll find a lot to like here, an unblinking and sometimes surprisingly poetic look at the seedy underbelly of the American spirit, right up the alley of existing fans of Kathy Acker and others. Strongly recommended, but only to a highly specific crowd; you know who you are.
Out of 10: 8.6, or 9.1 for fans of transgressive literature