Friday, April 16, 2010

Becky Birtha

Next on my list is a book called "Lover's Choice" by Becky Birthda. This is a collection of short stories that I picked up from the library randomly one day when I was up in the stacks.

Last night I read the story "Johnnieruth", a story about a 14 year old girl living in the city who is slowly becoming aware that she is different from the people around her.

Here's what someone else had to say about the story:

"In Becky Birtha's short story of the same title, the character Johnnieruth undergoes a process of self-discovery during adolescence that climaxes in heightened awareness and joy when she views two women stealing a clandestine kiss in the park.

Johnnieruth is narrated by the title character. A skinny as a �knifeblade turned sideways� young black girl, Johnnieruth acts more, feels more like, and fits in better with the boys than the other girls. The other girls in the neighborhood exhibit less adventure and curiosity than Johnnieruth, content to stay in the neighborhood in the evening �watching babies and running they mouth� (Birtha 201).

Johnnieruth is not content to stay in the neighborhood. She does not fit in with this crowd of people. She feels estranged from the other girls, the heavyset ladies who spend hours hiding their real self behind Sunday�s couture and makeup facades, and even her mother � �you just can�t please her� (Birtha 203). Johnnieruth is not quite sure why she is driven to seek out a place where she will be more fulfilled, but she is quite sure there is such a place.

Johnnieruth knows she is different from the other children. She is not interested in babies or husbands, in fact she wonders why any woman would desire a husband only to make sure �she keep[s] on having babies� (Birtha 201). Johnnieruth is also more at home playing with the boys or riding her bike in the evening like the boys do. She does not enjoy the idle and mindless..."

You can buy used copies of the book on Amazon here:

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