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Do-over! In Which a Forty-eight-year-old Father of Three Returns to Kindergarten, Summer Camp, the Prom, and Other Embarrassmentsby Robin Hemley
Robin Hemley's childhood made a wedgie of his memory, leaving him sore and embarrassed for over forty years. He was the most pitiful kindergartner, the least spirited summer camper, and dateless for prom. In fact, there's nary an event from his youth that couldn't use improvement. If only he could do them all over a few decades later, with an adult's wisdom, perspective, and giant-like height... In the spirit of cult film classics like Billy Madison and Wet Hot American Summer, in DO-OVER! Hemley re-encounters papier mache, revisits his childhood home, and finally attends the prom--bringing readers the thrill of recapturing a misspent youth and discovering what's most important: simple pleasures, second chances, and the forgotten joys of recess.
In 1963, when Lois Kulwicki's father loses his job at Studebaker along with hundreds of other workers, he acts as if he has just been promoted. He buys a new car (the only non-Studebaker he's ever purchased) and takes his family on vacation. On the way home, Mom dumps Dad at a Stuckey's, and that's the last they see of him.Thirty years later, Lois has a family of her own, as fractured as her childhood family. Divorced but still living with her ex, she decides to move out with her two daughters and start over but then a stranger named Henry enters their lives. Out of this ersatz family, Lois tries to recover something of what she lost, beginning with a search for her abandoned father. The Last Studebaker is a warmly comic tale of lives changed forever, after the last Studebaker rolled off of the assembly line.
Reply All, the third collection of award-winning and widely anthologized short stories by Robin Hemley, takes a humorous, edgy, and frank look at the human art of deception and self-deception. A father accepts, without question, the many duplicate saint relics that appear in front of his cave everyday; a translator tricks Magellan by falsely translating a local chief's words of welcome; an apple salesman a long way from home thinks he's fallen in love; a search committee believes in its own nobility by hiring a minority writer; a cheating couple broadcast their affair to an entire listserv; a talk show host interviews the dead and hopes to learn their secrets. The ways in which humans fool themselves are infinite, and while these stories illustrate this sad fact in sometimes excruciating detail, the aim is not to skewer the misdirected, but to commiserate with them and blush in recognition.
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