Bummer: And Other Stories
Softskull Press
Janice Shapiro
“Bummer”
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“Bummer” is the title story from Janice Shapiro’s debut collection,  BUMMER: AND OTHER STORIES (Softskull Press, 2010).  Shapiro’s short stories have been published in The North American Review, and The Santa Monica Review, and she co-wrote the screenplay to the cult film Dead Beat. She lives in Brooklyn.

 

The collection was widely praised:

“Shapiro’s writing is crisp, refreshing and affecting–highly recommended.”

—Kirkus (starred review)

 

“The breath of life flows through every one of Janice Shapiro’s wonderful stories, and you can feel the heart beating very close to the surface. BUMMER is terrifically smart, with a kind of comic energy that can swerve at any moment into eloquent brokenheartedness. I loved this book”

–Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

 

“BUMMER is an exciting collection by a writer with an engaging and distinctive voice. Janice Shapiro’s stories are darkly funny, sexy and very smart.”

— Tom Perrotta, author of The Abstinence Teacher, Little Children, Election

 

Shapiro had this to say about her story: I wrote “Bummer” a few years ago when we still lived in Los Angeles.  My husband and I were working in the film business, he as a writer/director and I, a screenwriter.  We were able to squeak out a living, but only just barely.  It really started to feel like it was a matter of luck as to who succeeded or not.  When I wrote “Bummer” I definitely felt that I was not succeeding, and I found that it’s really hard to feel unlucky, mainly because there isn’t a whole lot that you can do about it.  I guess I had a lot of “issues” to work out about my feelings of luck-less-ness and so I created good, old luck-challenged Alison, the heroine of the story, “Bummer.” Of course, Alison is not an ultimate loser, but she is going through a stretch where she sees herself as a one (and I, as her creator, certainly did stack the decks pretty high against her).  But instead of bemoaning her fate, Alison embraces it, even wears the label of “loser” with a modicum of pride.  I could not ever do this, but I admire her finding a way to pull it off.  Her strength and toughness and determination is really admirable in a very punk rock kind of way, and it was a pleasure to write her action-packed adventure in the luck and luck-less capital of the world, Las Vegas.

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