Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self

Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self

Book - 2010
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Penguin Putnam
Introducing a new star of her generation, an electric debut story collection about young African-American and mixed-race teens, women, and men struggling to find a place in their families and communities.

When Danielle Evans's short story "Virgins" was published in The Paris Review in late 2007, it announced the arrival of a bold new voice. Written when she was only twenty-three, Evans's story of two black, blue-collar fifteen-year-old girls' flirtation with adulthood for one night was startling in its pitch-perfect examination of race, class, and the shifting terrain of adolescence.

Now this debut collection delivers on the promise of that early story. In "Harvest," a college student's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront her own feelings of inadequacy in comparison to her white classmates. In "Jellyfish," a father's misguided attempt to rescue a gift for his grown daughter from an apartment collapse magnifies all he doesn't know about her. And in "Snakes," the mixed-race daughter of intellectuals recounts the disastrous summer she spent with her white grandmother and cousin, a summer that has unforeseen repercussions in the present.

Striking in their emotional immediacy, the stories in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self are based in a world where inequality is reality but where the insecurities of adolescence and young adulthood, and the tensions within family and the community, are sometimes the biggest complicating forces in one's sense of identity and the choices one makes.



Random House, Inc.
Introducing a new star of her generation, an electric debut story collection about young African-American and mixed-race teens, women, and men struggling to find a place in their families and communities.

When Danielle Evans's short story "Virgins" was published in The Paris Review in late 2007, it announced the arrival of a bold new voice. Written when she was only twenty-three, Evans's story of two black, blue-collar fifteen-year-old girls' flirtation with adulthood for one night was startling in its pitch-perfect examination of race, class, and the shifting terrain of adolescence.

Now this debut collection delivers on the promise of that early story. In "Harvest," a college student's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront her own feelings of inadequacy in comparison to her white classmates. In "Jellyfish," a father's misguided attempt to rescue a gift for his grown daughter from an apartment collapse magnifies all he doesn't know about her. And in "Snakes," the mixed-race daughter of intellectuals recounts the disastrous summer she spent with her white grandmother and cousin, a summer that has unforeseen repercussions in the present.

Striking in their emotional immediacy, the stories in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self are based in a world where inequality is reality but where the insecurities of adolescence and young adulthood, and the tensions within family and the community, are sometimes the biggest complicating forces in one's sense of identity and the choices one makes.

Baker & Taylor
A volume of short works includes "Harvest," in which an unplanned pregnancy prompts an African-American college student's self-evaluation; "Jellyfish," in which a father realizes how little he knows his daughter and "Snakes," in which a mixed-race girl recounts a fateful summer with white relatives. A first collection.

Blackwell Publishing
"Danielle Evans is funny as hell. Which only makes all the heart-break in these stories more surprising and satisfying. The young women in this collection are always on the edge of real trouble, but don't be fooled, they're the dangerous ones, Written with wonderful clarity and a novelist's sense of scope. Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is a fabulous literary debut."---Victor Lavalle, author of Big Machine

"Danielle Evans's stories are fresh, arresting, real. The young women and men in them could be sitting across from you on the subway or strolling past you on a college campus. And the young woman who brings them to us is a writer to watch."---Martha Southgate, author of The Fall of Rome

"Danielle Evans's considerable talents are in evidence on every page of this impressive debut. She finds her often surprising dramatic material in the un-expected asides of modern life, with results that are intense, intelligent, humane, and funny. I look forward to reading more."---Daniel Alarcon, author of Lost City Radio

"Wise, funny, starting stories. Full of hard truths about sex and race in America, and what it's like to grow up fast in a slow changing country, this brave collection will make you laugh and clutch your heart at the same time."---Eric Puchner, author of Music Through the floor

"Evans's knife-sharp wit and tender but unflinching eye create a range of characters who are entirely sympathetic, even as they tumble headlong into their own mistakes."---V.V. Ganeshananthan. author of Love Marriage

"Quietly magnetic, Evans's voice draws us into richly charged worlds where innocence isn't lost but escaped. and where pieces of the past reassemble in the present with the inevitable geometry of kaleidoscope glass. Delivered with a light touch that belies their maturity, these morally complex stories mark the arrival of a gifted new author."---Sana Krasikov. author of One More Year

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self introduces a stunningly confident voice in fiction. Fearless, funny, and ultimatly tender, Danielle Evans's stories offer a bold new perspective on the experience of being young and African-American or mixed-race in modern-day America. They feature young women and men who find themselves straddling the divide in cultures, classes, relationships, and ideas about who they are and who they want to be.

Evans's arresting talent was first announced when "Virgins" debuted in The Paris Review in 2007, when she was only twenty-three. This story of two blue-collar teenagers' flirtation with adulthood for one night, their experimentation with the dangers and temptations of sex and the limits of friendship, is startling in its pitch-perfect detail, refreshing in its examination of race, class, and the shifting terrain of adolescence.

The exciting promise of that early story is satisfied in this collection. In "Harvest," a college student's unexpected pregnancy brings up lingering feelings of inadequacy in relation to her white classmates. In "Robert E. Lee Is Dead," teenage girls in the still deeply divided South help one another survive high school despite their differences. In "Jellyfish," a father's misguided attempt to rescue from an apartment collapse a gift for his grown daughter highlights all that he doesn't know about her. And in "Snakes," a mixed-race girl spends the summer with her white grandmother, only to become the casualty of her family's deep-rooted tensions.

In each of these stories, Evans explores the nonwhite experience in contemporary America with honesty, wisdom, and humor. They are striking in their emotional immediacy, based in a world where inequality is a reality, and where the insecurities of young adulthood and tensions within family are often even more complicating factors.

Baker
& Taylor

A volume of short works includes "Harvest," in which an unplanned pregnancy prompts an African-American college student's self-evaluation; "Jellyfish," in which a father realizes how little he knows his daughter; and "Snakes," in which a mixed-race girl recounts a fateful summer with white relatives.
Fearless, funny, and ultimately tender, Evans's stories offer a bold new perspective on the experience of being young and African-American or mixed-race in modern-day America.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2010
ISBN: 9781594487699
1594487693
Branch Call Number: Fiction Eva
Characteristics: 232 p. ; 22 cm

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LPL_KateG Sep 01, 2015

One of my favorite short story collections!

vcortes5 Dec 22, 2012

Incredible. A must read. Amazing. I love it.

ggbookreader Sep 18, 2012

Review title:Choices & Chances.
Every choice we make will have some positive and some negative outcomes/consequences and we will need to live with each outcome; and it may be for our entire life. There are chances we take, like a gamble, that may alter our future in a positive or a negative way, and that is what this group of stories is all about. Each protagonist makes a choice or takes a chance, then sees the outcome. "Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self" is all about everyday reality, and the stories hi-lite the "true" decisions people make and a possible outcome, once the choice or chance has been selected. CAUTION: The language used in this novel of stories may not be appropriate for all readers.

PurpleRose_P_F_A Aug 14, 2012

This is a coming of age book, of orkward first relationships, and trying to find your way around life, and dumb boys who leave you wondering why they choose the used girls over the nice girls.

Plum1976 Jun 08, 2012

Well written, entertaining, thoughtful collection of short stories. Funny, sad, heroic all in one!

e
eswahl
Mar 04, 2011

Danielle Evans has the two essential qualities of a great short story writer: a very unique voice and narratives that compel you to keep turning the pages. These stories stayed with me long after I finished the book.

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mikakotori Jun 26, 2012

mikakotori thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 20 and 50

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jAMES509 Aug 24, 2012

be more than carefful with life

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