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by ,Kristie Helms

Download Dish It Up, Baby fb2
Author: ,Kristie Helms
ISBN: 1563411342
Language: English
Pages: 200 pages
Category: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Firebrand Books (September 1, 2003)
Rating: 4.3
Formats: rtf lit lit mobi
FB2 size: 1516 kb | EPUB size: 1849 kb | DJVU size: 1356 kb

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Dish It Up, Baby
Comments (7)
The unnamed narrator in this novel begins her tale with an escape from her abusive marriage. The rage of her husband has gradually escalated over the years, and "four days after the fist and the blood," she flees to Brooklyn. Fortunately she has a decent job which allows her to move into a small place of her own, and she begins the process of trying to come to terms with her past, deal with the issues of the present, and forge a future.
The early chapters of the book are gripping, and the descriptions of her separation, grief, and adjustment are, at times, intense. For the first time in ages, she is alone, and the process of reconciling herself to that will be familiar to anyone going through a breakup. She wants to know if she can make it on her own. She needs to know why her husband did what he did to her. She wonders if she is gay. "I had spent 27 years making sure everything fit into a nice little suburban box. I was finding it hard that I didn't fit into the box so easily any more. I kept looking for a "for sure" test. You know, spin around three times, clap your hands and if you start humming the Indigo Girls, then proof positive. Hand that girl a rainbow sticker and tell her to get her hair cut already" (p. 28).
The first signs of a sense of humor emerge early on. We follow the narrator along through random days at work, her encounters with oddball people, and into episodic scenes where she reflects on and attempts to make a new life for herself. At times, the story is a bit rambling and picaresque. The occasional bit of humor keeps the narrative rolling. For instance, her cat, Maggie, is actually male. "Friends told me I was the only person they knew with a Jewish transgender cat." Another instance: she puts a personals ad in Match.com. "I had no idea what that meant or what it was I thought I'd find there. I just generally believed in the power of the Internet to fix my life" (p. 70). The sardonic wit is welcome, especially since it's often unexpected.
But in between the funny observations and the grief-struck memories, the structure of the novel doesn't quite hold. The book reads a great deal more like an autobiography or memoir, so it's curious that the author chose to specifically label it "A Novel," as though otherwise the reader wouldn't know. As the unnamed narrator moves forward in her healing process and begins dating women and exploring her sexual orientation, the narrative punch decreases. Some of that is because we never really get to know anyone she encounters, and we never even know her name. People come and go, but there's little solidity to hang on to...still, we want good things for the narrator. By the end of the book, she's had an interesting journey, sometimes rambling, sometimes odd, but interesting all the same. ~Lori L. Lake, author of Stepping Out, Different Dress, Gun Shy, Under The Gun, and Ricochet In Time, and reviewer for Midwest Book Review, Golden Crown Literary Society's The Crown, The Independent Gay Writer, The Gay Read, and Just About Write.
Dish It Up Baby is stylish, cotton-candy pink, big lipstick kiss schmaltz -- with a brain.
It's a coming-of-age story, but it's not about adolescence. I'm kind of tired of books about adolescence. It's nice to read about a woman in her 20s, out of college, having been married, working, and coming to terms with herself and the world.
This is fiction inspired by a sharp observant mind and spoken from a deep heart. Terrible things happen to the heroine. You know she will survive because she's writing the book, but you don't know how.
The story of how she makes it will keep you going from Manhattan to Brooklyn, from the World Trade Centers to the corner drugstore. Details of life in the city are finely drawn. Style is choppy on purpose, staccato like urban movement.
At the end of this book you will say, "Yes, I can see how that happened." And you will want to read more books by this author.
While "Dish It Up, Baby" by first-time novelist Kristie Helms isn't a bad first novel, it's not great either. It read more like an autobiography, although nothing in the jacket copy alludes to that assumption. The unnamed protagonist, an abused wife, discovers herself battered, alone, and without a clue as to who she is. The odyssey of her self-discovery in New York City is interesting to a degree, but too much effort is spent trying to explain to the reader why abused women stay in relationships. The ensuing drama of online dating and sex drags out a bit as well, as our protagonist discovers she may be a lesbian as well. "Dish It Up, Baby" isn't great, but not an entirely unenjoyable journey into one woman's self-discovery.
This book is amazing. The reviewer above must have read something different since he gave it zero stars and reviewed it before it was actually released (2004). An unbelievably poignant read with a humorous twist - Helms dishes up a dose of real life that doesn't let you put the book down. If I only get to read one book this year, I'm glad this was the one! Oprah - you should be recommending this one!!!
There's the unsophisticated little southern girl who expects to get married and have kids and live all her life in Kentucky; there's the very young married woman who moves to the Big Apple and learns to navigate life in the city; there's the battered wife who wears long sleeves to cover up the bruises; there's the "victim" who decides to stop being a victim and moves out on her own; there's the single-again girl whose commitment is to figure out who she is; there's the cubicle girl who makes a success of herself in the corporate world while all this is going on in her personal life; there's the coming-out lesbian who frantically tries on a whole new lifestyle, mostly thanks to match.com; and there's the head-over-heels lover who finds what she's been looking for.
All these people are the narrator of Dish It Up, Baby -- and there's little doubt that they're the author too, in spite of the disclaimer on the copyright page. Kristie Helms has written a notable first novel aka memoir, describing her journey so far and exposing her innermost thoughts and feelings to her readers.
This girl can write! Her style is sometime quirky, with chopped-up sentences and random periods, but it works.
It's going to be interesting to see what she comes up with next.
Lost Python
This impressive debut novel boasts a compelling protagonist, a compelling story arc, and an elegantly spare writing style that seems to have flowed directly from the author's heart to her pen. Helms dives fearlessly into reservoirs of freedom, sorrow, anger, love, and hope. It is a pleasure to witness the heroine's discovery of herself and the world she moves through. My only regret is the book's slimness; I wished to spend more time with the character. I look forward to Ms. Helms next effort.