Don't Kiss Me: Stories
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“My Boyfriend Del”
“My Boyfriend Del” is from Lindsay Hunter’s collection, DON’T KISS ME (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013). Hunter is the author of one previous story collection, DADDY’S, and her work has appeared in many online journals including, PANK, Thieves Jargon, Hobart, and McSweeny’s.
Eugenia Williamson, writing in the Boston Globe, said of DON’T KISS ME: “Hunter’s stories feel incredibly urgent. Hunter is such a talented writer that she makes the unimaginably unpleasant seem natural, and terrifyingly so . . . Those who’ve read Hunter’s excellent debut, DADDY’S, won’t be surprised by her feats. If that collection announced a formidable and refreshing prose stylist, DON’T KISS ME cements that reputation.”
Roxane Gay, author of AYIT, said: “Lindsay Hunter is one hell of a writer who takes risks and leaves it all on the page in the very best ways. She makes the ugly beautiful and the raw elegant. DON’T KISS ME tell truths with a fierce, percussive voice that is not only wholly original but so powerful, it steals into your body, your bones.”
Hunter said this about how she came to write her story: For a time I really wanted to write about Mary Kay Letourneau. I tried to start a bunch of different stories and they all felt like they were simplifying or glorifying her story, which made me uncomfortable. I realized I wanted to write about what interested me most, which was how someone might identify with and be attracted to the innocence of childhood, and I wanted to do that in a way that wasn’t porn-y or exploitative.
The character kind of emerged from the wall wholly intact. She was lonely, and she was tired of being lonely, and there was something in her relationship with Del that was satisfying her even as the impossibility and emptiness of that relationship kept revealing themselves. Like a bug that bites you but then comes back to scratch your itch.
People talk about how she is mentally unstable, how the relationship is all in her mind, and that is true, but it’s not what I set out to write. Weird how that happens.