Kinsey And Me: Stories by Sue Grafton(4 out of 5)

If you have never read Sue Grafton, well, this isn’t the place to start. Go to A is for Alibi and read your way through most of the alphabet. If you HAVE read Sue Grafton, this is what I would term a companion piece to the series. Sue Grafton is, and has always been, notoriously private and has only alluded in passing in earlier interviews to the fact that she was the daughter of alcoholic parents. I wonder if she thought with the end of the alphabet(and possibly the Kinsey Millhone series) near, it was time to go rooting through that long abandoned lockbox in the attic. Either way, it works. It’s also unlike any book I’ve read before- in the format. Again, Sue Grafton manages to be quiet for a while(two years) and come out swinging with a whole new book format. 

The first half of the book is short stories with Kinsey. You can see some of them have probably been around since the earlier Kinsey books(that Kinsey is a little more carefree), and you can see others are later(more recent, with a little-bit-older-and-wiser Kinsey present, as opposed to the free-spirit who sleeps on Wonder Woman sheets). I enjoyed them, although it made me long more for the next full-length Kinsey novel. She’s one of those characters in which you have to read the whole storyline arc. It doesn’t feel like you have the full Kinsey(there’s a new phrase for you! Full Monty, take that!) here. You get a glimpse of what shaped her into the character we all know and love.

The true revealation here is Sue Grafton herself. Raised in a wealthy family with two alcoholic parents, you read the stories and just want to step into the book and give Sue Grafton a big hug. It also gives you an idea, reading about her family and their inability to give as much love and attention to Sue and her sister Del as they did to their prospective liquors, I mean- we all have dysfunctional families- but how many of us have a chance to confront them in your own way, to bring closure to that pain? Sue Grafton does just that. I think this is form of closure. There are multiple reviews for this book on both Goodreads and Crapazon that cite how dark the stories are. HELLO- that’s the point!  I thoroughly enjoyed the look inside Sue Grafton’s life. How many times do you read an author religiously and wonder what started them down that path, what built that character up in your mind, why that character was, say, an orphan raised by an aunt(I speak of Kinsey here, not Grafton)? Wonder no more. Dark and disturbing? Sure, there are vignettes in the book that are, but it’s no different than if you had a candid into a family ruled by alcohol(or pills…see Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless to get an idea of that). 

You also get a preface in which Sue Grafton goes into some history of literary mysteries- pretty fascinating stuff. I say, overall, I loved this book. The only thing I didn’t love was the yearning produced for a full-length Kinsey book(W is next, I believe). I’m also not a big short story fan, so that took some getting used to. I was enjoying the Kinsey, then it switched over to Sue. Again, not complaining, but it was a leap. One I enjoyed, but I would enjoy a new Kinsey book too. 

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~ by generationgbooks on February 23, 2013.

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