I didn’t intend to spend my snow day reading my ARC of Songs of My Selfie.
Instead, I intended to use today as a work day, to grade the never-ending composition papers sitting in my inbox or perhaps plan some promotional events for the spring.
But then I started the book.
At twenty-seven, I am just over the cutoff mark for the millennials who wrote the short stories in Songs of My Selfie, but when it comes to identifying with the stressed out, sleepless girl in the airport in Suzanne Herman’s “The Most Laid-Back Guy Ever” or Ryan Fitzpatrick escaping college loans in “Becoming John Doe,” I am just the right age.
In the world of literary fiction, most books are written by older writers discussing older things. Marriage. Children. Divorce. Not often do I read a short story like “Small Bump” or “Victoria” and think to myself Yes, that’s familiar, I’ve been there. Not actually there—I’ve never had a pregnancy scare out of wedlock or run away from home—but there emotionally, there where the heart of the story speaks of the adventure and pain of being out of college and broke and struggling to find your place in the world.
Though there is some speculative fiction in the collection, I think the realistic stories are where Songs of My Selfie works the best. Stories like “Pill Popper,” in which a customer yells at a young pharmacist, ring true for every reader. They also help the book fill an important gap in literature, not just as a short story collection about millennials, but as an anthology written by them—an anthology that conveys its themes of what editor Constance Renfrow calls “a common experience new to our generation: the quarter-life crisis” with a collective, resounding millennial sigh that any reader can identify with.
Songs of My Selfie comes out on April 5th from Three Rooms Press.