'You're So Beautiful' & 'Normal'

You're So Beautiful
Eileen FitzGerald
St. Martin's Press, $21.95, 198 pp.

Normal
Lucia Nevai
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $17.95, 217 pp.

Middle-class America can be a peculiar place. Beyond the monotony of split-level homes and overpasses, of cheerleading practice and the Baby Gap, many Americans struggle, for the most part silently, with the tenuousness of their lives.

Reading the stories in these two first collections is like taking a series of detours on a trip across the landscape of American anxiety. The liveliest stories in You’re So Beautiful and Normal...

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About the Author

Jacqueline Dowdell, formerly Commonweal’s production editor, is a graduate student in the English department at Cornell University.