All the Pretty Girls

In each of these short stories, set against a finely-crafted backdrop of poverty and violence, abuse and hope, Chandra Mayor provides a glimpse into the lives of girls and young women, allowing each to speak in her own voice. These are young women who roll pennies to buy toilet paper and roll their own cigarettes, who watch the mail for the welfare cheque and watch their boyfriends and lovers out of the corners of their eyes. But they also watch their own children play in wading pools, and watch the horizon for other women and other possibilities. Outsiders looking in and insiders looking out, these stories are wreathed in cigarette smoke and blurry with beer. Mayor insists that all girls are pretty girls, and that even amid squalor and chaos, true beauty is achieved through the simple act of reaching for something, anything, more.