Dahlia Season: Stories & A Novella by Myriam Gurba

Review by Susan Chenelle

Warning: Myriam Gurba’s sensual, precise prose is addictive. The four short stories that open Dahlia Season seduce and hit hard: In “White Girl” and “Primera Comuni—n,” Gurba’s protagonists find that reaching across dangerous boundaries can sometimes lead to earth-shattering love and healing. “Just Drift” follows a Latino teenager through a school day that begins with the goal of delivering the perfect flan as a bribe to his English teacher, and ends with him helping his girlfriend end her pregnancy.

Like most teenagers, Desiree Garcia, the heroine of the book’s titular novella, is obsessed with figuring herself out. However, it’s not being an artistic, lesbian goth that troubles her—let her parents worry about that—it’s her compulsive physical and mental tics she doesn’t get. Like her creator, Desiree has grown up with undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. Dahlia Season follows her through her family’s attempts to “de-weirdoize” her and her own to diagnose and accept herself. This collection lavishes love, recognition and respect on anyone with Tourette’s or other behavior disorders; it also kicks down relief and acceptance for the parts in all of us that twitch or misbehave. —Susan Chenelle

Originally published in the Fall 2007 issue of Bitch Magazine.

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Author: schenelle

Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction in Jersey City, NJ. Co-author of Using Informational Text to Teach literature series. Doctoral student in Teacher Education and Teacher Development at Montclair State University.

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