Get a Grip

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
160 Pages
Reviewed on 01/04/2016
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Author Biography

Kathy Flann’s fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, The North American Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, New Stories from the South, and other publications. A short story collection entitled Get a Grip won the George Garrett Award and was released by Texas Review Press in the fall of 2015. It was named a top book of the year by Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore City Paper. A previous collection, Smoky Ordinary, won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and was published by Snake Nation Press. For five years, she taught creative writing at the University of Cumbria in England, where she created mini-courses for the BBC’s Get Writing website and served on the board of the National Association of Writers in Education. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Sozopol Fiction Seminars in Bulgaria, and Le Moulin à Nef in France. She is an associate professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite

Get a Grip by Kathy Flann is a collection of short stories that evoke a sense of love and loss and share a connection in human despair. The book opens with Neuropathy, which sets the mood right away as a bitter and somewhat mentally impaired woman struggles with her son’s life and impending marriage to a crippled girl. Also included are stories about Russian brothers battling stereotypes in a bad neighborhood with the hopes of getting into college, a man hiking with his sister after a car theft, a middle-aged woman who needs a change in life, an aspiring nurse troubled by the actions of her teen son, and a man on the edge of a heart attack out looking for a valuable meteorite. Each story has a separate plot, separate characters, and a different writing style, yet all the stories in Get a Grip share a similar mood and theme. According to author Kathy Flann, the book is set in the Baltimore region and captures the area’s charm, compassion, and self-doubt.

Get a Grip is expertly written with imaginative prose and insightful conclusions about love and life. The mood never fluctuates, even between separate stories, and the reader is hooked right away. One of the best things about short story collections is finding a favorite, and the book’s title story, Get a Grip, was mine. Also enjoyable was The Meteorite Man as it was different from typical plots and left the reader with a knowing nod at the end, punctuated with sadness for The Meteorite Man. All in all, I am now a huge fan of author Kathy Flann and will look for her next collection of stories.