#Review: How To Be A Man – Tamara Linse
It’s hard to be a man. To be responsible, and own up to your mistakes. It’s harder still living by the seat of your pants each and every day. Seeing the day spread out before you, knowing you’ve no choice but to do what you have to do. To stick by your guns, and live a life you’re not sure you want to live.
Themes such as the above run rampant in this short story collection written by Tamara Linse. We get to see each and every character speak their minds, and show us what’s in their hearts. We see them struggle with their circumstances, while others make difficult choices that change their very outcome. Some give us an insight to what makes them tick, and we’re given glimpses of their vulnerabilities.
The life the author gives to each of these characters is certainly endearing. Each story stands on its own, giving us a vivid image of what each character is going through. From a difficult decision to take a tiny insignificant life to the broiling atmosphere of a courtroom, each story expands to give us a little taste of Tamara’s unique sense of storytelling.
While it may look like the stories are randomly thrown together, they’re not. They center around the theme of how to assert yourself in any situation. To make decisions based on what moves you and what’s in your heart. Some might consider the title to touch on the subject of how to actually be a man. To live life through a man’s eyes, but it’s far from that. The title itself is used in a metaphorical sense.
Keeping this in mind allows the reader to immerse him or herself in each individual story. Tamara adds enough intrigue to each tale that leaves you wanting to know more about each character by the time you get to the story’s end. A bittersweet and thought-provoking collection, How To Be A Man is worthy of reading. The author is definitely one to keep an eye on!
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“Never acknowledge the fact that you’re a girl, and take pride when your guy friends say, ‘You’re one of the guys.’ Tell yourself, ‘I am one of the guys, ‘ even though, in the back of your mind, a little voice says, ‘But you’ve got girl parts.’ ”
A girl whose self-worth revolves around masculinity, a bartender who loses her sense of safety, a woman who compares men to plants, and a boy who shoots his cranked-out father.
These are a few of the hard-scrabble characters in Tamara Linse’s debut short story collection, How to Be a Man. Set in contemporary Wyoming-the myth of the West taking its toll-these stories reveal the lives of tough-minded girls and boys, self-reliant women and men, struggling to break out of their lonely lives and the emotional havoc of their families to make a connection, to build a life despite the odds. How to Be a Man falls within the tradition of Maile Meloy, Tom McGuane, and Annie Proulx.
About The Author:
Tamara Linse grew up on a ranch in northern Wyoming with her farmer/rancher rock-hound ex-GI father, her artistic musician mother from small-town middle America, and her four sisters and two brothers. She jokes that she was raised in the 1880s because they did things old-style—she learned how to bake bread, break horses, irrigate, change tires, and be alone, skills she’s been thankful for ever since. The ranch was a partnership between her father and her uncle, and in the 80s and 90s the two families had a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud.
She worked her way through the University of Wyoming as a bartender, waitress, and editor. At UW, she was officially in almost every college on campus until she settled on English and after 15 years earned her bachelor’s and master’s in English. While there, she taught writing, including a course called Literature and the Land, where students read Wordsworth and Donner Party diaries during the week and hiked in the mountains on weekends. She also worked as a technical editor for an environmental consulting firm.
She still lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband Steve and their twin son and daughter. She writes fiction around her job as an editor for a foundation. She is also a photographer, and when she can she posts a photo a day for a Project 365. Please stop by Tamara’s website, www.tamaralinse.com, and her blog, Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl, at tamara-linse.blogspot.com. You can find an extended bio there with lots of juicy details. Also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, and if you see her in person, please say hi.
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