“Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It” by Maile Meloy

Maile Meloy’s Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It was an indirect recommendation. A friend of mine is in a mentor program with a local author, who recommended it to her. She in turn recommended it to me.

It’s a collection of short stories, linked by the common theme of the title–the pushes and pulls of life, and the compromises we make as we go along. They exemplify the meaning of ambivalence–not the commonly mistaken conception of not caring, but being pulled to multiple opposing options. The stories are tight as drums. They pulled me through, with economic yet devastating characterizations, each taking me to an ending that was surprising, yet satisfying.

I often don’t enjoy short stories because they tend to go for an icky-wow factor that lingers unpleasantly. Meloy’s stories contain some people behaving badly, yet they made me think and feel, not recoil. I both enjoyed and was impressed by this collection. Highly recommended.

3 Responses to ““Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It” by Maile Meloy”

  1. Amy Says:

    I do enjoy short stories, especially when I’m in a short-attention-span kinda mood. But I tend to prefer older, rather than current.

  2. shannon Says:

    (i loved ‘both ways’ as well) but your comment about ‘behaving badly’ reminded me that the first book of short stories i ever bought was mary gaitskill’s Bad Behavior - and yes, each story had weird - ick - people…. but i remember being fascinated by the strange and vile characters. it was the first time i rememer NOT liking and identifying with the protagonist.

  3. girldetective Says:

    Amy, it might surprise you. I don’t usually like short stories, and I liked this collection. Shannon, I have that collection, which was one of the first I read, too! And when I think of what kind of story I dislike, Thom Jones’ I Want to Live is what comes to mind, but I liked all the Gaitskills, so I wonder if I’m more attuned to female writers–maybe I can sympathize, if not empathize (though I did that a lot in Gaitskill, too) with their icky wow factor.