From loss, illness, and addiction to spooky offspring, dry skin, and inexplicable hope, this collection of "pretty" stories demonstrates how decidedly average people can be mortified--if not devastated--by new circumstances. A middle-aged, HIV-positive gay man, deformed by the side effects of protease inhibitors, is savaged by the flippant small talk of canny young men. A fundamentalist Christian housewife thrills from her newfound carnality, only to be saddled with the homeschooling of her four special-needs children. A washed-up but content pop star is pursued by a pair of shrill documentary filmmakers intent on turning the woman's life into arty tragedy, even if it kills them all. Mordant, brash, hysterically funny yet always compassionate, these stories give voice to characters moved to speak in spite of themselves.
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