I’m A Registered Nurse, Not a Whore

In her charming debut collection of eight short stories, Toronto author Anne Perdue explores unfamiliar territory against the mundane backdrop of never-ending home renos, all-inclusive resort vacations, child-minding in Niagara Falls, familial estrangement and unfulfilling midlife marital affairs.
Throughout these brief but engaging tales, Perdue tugs at the heartstrings. Her characters are wonderfully written, deeply human with big hearts and even bigger flaws. The stories capture the minutiae encountered by everyday folk living everyday lives. And these characters don’t censor themselves or their frustrations: they get drunk and cause public scenes, they scream at loved ones, they smash windows and set bathrooms on fire. But despite their missteps, I want these characters to come out ahead, even if only for a moment. They do their best and sometimes that’s enough.
Beyond the lovably tragic protagonists that people Perdue’s stories, the city setting becomes an endearing character. Toronto is subtly evoked with passing references to the Pope’s visit to Downsview, drives along the Danforth and the former Winchester Pub now replaced by a Tim Hortons. With these brief mentions to Hogtown events and landmarks, the characters become familiar. They feel like old friends or the kind of person you might meet at the local watering hole down the street.
As one of the characters aptly describes, “There are two things you need in life. Someone or something to love. And something to do. You need both. And you need hope that you’re gonna have both.” At the core of each of Perdue’s stories there is hope that things will one day get a little better. And for each of the characters chronicled within these pages, I like to think they do. (Melissa Hergott)

Anne Perdue, 260 pgs, Insomniac Press insomniacpress.com, $19.95

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