Congrats to Lorrie Moore, winner of the Rea Award (not updated yet) for the short story, which, like most official short story-related kudos, brings 30,000 big ones. Well deserved. My entry to Moore was ‘Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?’ a brief novel that’s about the friendship of two teenage girls. Among the passages marked up in my copy: “I lay in the bunk above Monica Hyde, a fourteen-year-old from North Syracuse. When I couldn’t hear the radio, I talked to her. Her biggest sin, she said, had been tearing the zipper off the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album cover so she could see what was underneath.”
Happily, I moved on to ’Birds of America,’ with stories just so deceptively simple and memorable and funny and sad. Its closer, “Terrific Mother,” is unforgettable and maybe best represents her greatest strengths.
(Originally published 10/20/04)