I really wanted to like this book, but I found the stories in Eat Your Heart Out
to be, overall, a bit weak and repetitive. Boland is obviously rooting for the underdog here. Her characters are victims---people-in-progress just trying to get their shit together. Depicted over and over again are half-uttered intimacies between men and women (usually a blue-collar man who desires a woman who’s too good for him), tales of unrequited love, abandonment and self-loathing. While displaying a deftness for dialogue, these stories could have, as a whole, benefitted from less telling and more showing. Stand outs were “Monster” and “Mama,” the former a quick, gritty, first-person narrative told by a woman trapped in a lie, and the latter one woman’s quest for closure after her mother’s death. But ultimately, like the characters in these vignettes, Eat Your Heart Out
left me searching for something more.