Book Review: Lost Girls: Short Stories by Ellen Birkett Morris

About the Book:

Title: Lost Girls: Short Stories

Author: Ellen Birkett Morris

Page Length: 140

Publication Date: June 26, 2020

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Synopsis: Lost Girls explores the experiences of women and girls as they grieve, find love, face uncertainty, take a stand, find their future, and say goodbye to the past. A young woman creates a ritual to celebrate the life of a kidnapped girl, an unmarried woman wanders into a breast feeder’s support group and stays, a grieving mother finds solace in an unlikely place, a young girl discovers more than she bargained for when she spies on her neighbors. Though they may seem lost, each finds their center as they confront the challenges and expectations of womanhood.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

Lost Girls is a powerful collection of short stories about the challenges and joys of womanhood. The collection explores topics like grief, self-acceptance, love, the pain of loss, trauma, violation, and more. I was so engrossed in and moved by these stories and the women introduced that I found it difficult to put the book down.

The book looks at womanhood in a deep and varied way and follows different women trying to find their way in an often unforgiving patriarchal society. I was gripped from the first story, which is inspired by the kidnapping of a local girl in the author’s community when she was a teen. Each short story focuses on different people and topics, but they are connected in their examination of the complexities and difficulties of being a woman. I love how each story is distinct and stands on its own even though they are united in theme and setting.

The stories encompass a plethora of topics relevant to women: dreams and disappointments, love and loss, longing and betrayal, grieving over the death of a child and other loved ones, trying to find oneself or redefine one’s life, reflecting on life and missed chances, seeing the beauty in the small things, wanting to belong and to be heard, experiencing emotional and sexual violation, and more. The stories don’t shy away from the harsh realities of life, nor does it make light of the consequences that stem from being a woman in a male-dominated society. This isn’t to say that all men are depicted negatively, as there are many good men in the book. However, the focus is on women and their realities, which are often complex, confusing, and relatable.

The author’s writing flows beautifully and makes for an immersive read. There’s a simplicity to the writing that is eloquent, nuanced, and meaningful. The words and construction feel carefully chosen and have a strong impact on their ease and relatability. I found myself pausing at the end of each story and reflecting on the characters, their lives, and the messages of the piece. It’s definitely the type of collection, rife with poignancy, that moves the reader in many ways.

I’m so thankful to Ellen Birkett Morris for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. This is such a powerful and evocative read, and I know I’ll think about these stories for a long time to come.


Favorite Parts:

  • The strong and poignant themes.
  • The focus on womanhood.

Favorite Lines:

Our society has a special fondness for women who suffer, especially when their suffering is public.

She never imagined that losing her virginity would be like buying a used race car, something shiny and leek on the outside but broken deep inside.

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