Holy mess, I'm already over halfway through this book. Curse you and your amazing stories, Emma Straub!
Here are my thoughts on the stories I've read since my last update:
"Pearls" -- This story is interesting if only because it explores romantic experimentation between two best friends while on a trip to the beach. Franny Gold, one of the girls in this story, appears later on in the title story and is much more developed there. Here, the girls are interesting, but Straub doesn't really flesh them or their situation out enough to make the reader really care. Still, the description and dialogue in this story is top-notch, so I'll give it a 2.5/5.
"Abraham's Enchanted Forest" - I loved this story. Essentially, this one is about the daughter of a man, Abraham, who dresses as Walt Whitman and does readings at book fairs and libraries when he isn't running the small amusement park (i.e., Abraham's Enchanted Forest) behind the family's home. This one is a little wacky and crazy imaginative, and it wouldn't be out of place in a Joe Hill story collection. 5/5
"Fly-Over State" - A couple moves from NYC to Wisconsin and has to get used to small town life. Straub's commentary on the way small communities of people work is what really makes this story extraordinary, as well as the way she sets the reader up to think things about certain characters -- only to turn those judgements on their heads by the story's end. One of the longer stories in OTHER PEOPLE WE MARRIED, it's an intriguing tale and one that is definitely worth a re-read. 5/5
"Other People We Married" - This one is an examination of a failing marriage. Franny from "Pearls" makes another appearance here, and this time she's grown up with a husband, a baby boy, and a gay best friend. These four take a trip to the beach where she and her husband get into a vicious fight, and things are made awkward when he calls her gay best friend a faggot. To be honest, I liked this story but a lot of the characters' actions were a bit wonky. I get what Straub is trying to say -- sometimes, we are closer to our friends than our spouse, and without friends life isn't much fun -- but she could have said it so much better. Still, it's a good story -- just not the best here. 3.5/5