Book: How Lovely to Be a Woman
Author: Tiffany Michelle Brown
Genre: Horror Short Story Collection
Why You Should Read It
Femme-forward short story collection brimming with beautiful body horror.
Why I Liked It
Tiffany Michelle Brown is an author after my own heart (though hopefully not for real, and not pan fried and served up with a delicious Australian Malbec). How Lovely To Be a Woman is her debut indie short story collection brimming with lovely little horrors that highlight the less than savory elements of what it means to live as a woman. This collection is a satisfying mix of femme-forward short stories and poems spanning from body horror, erotic horror, psychological horror and more and I loved every single one.
Featuring issues such as body image, motherhood, relationships and sexism, How Lovely To Be a Woman tackles feminine issues that are more than skin-deep. Highlights include This Woman’s Work, a short story about a woman who discovers that she has the ability to shape-shift into whatever image her partner desires. This, of course, comes at a terrible price and offers important commentary on how far people will go to please their partners and the lengths that some go to for acceptance and love. The reality that women in particular feel intense pressure to artificially manipulate their appearance in order to please male partners is met with a horrific bent in this tale.
Another standout story for me was Extraction, a body horror tale about a woman who battles with blemishes on her skin. As someone who has dealt with their fair share of acne and other skin issues, I could definitely sympathize with the main character in this tale. Extraction reminded me of the short film The Outside from Cabinet of Curiosities, where a woman puts her hope for transformation in the hands of a fancy skin cream. The emphasis on this story is body horror and how society encourages the use of expensive beauty treatments that don’t really do much. In the end, we continue to tear ourselves apart anyway.
Murder Memory was a fun little tale that will be appreciated by anyone who enjoyed American Psycho or A Certain Hunger. In this story, we are introduced to a woman who is seemingly preparing to enjoy a fancy dinner, but what’s really going on is far more sinister.
The Last Woman was one of the shortest entries for this collection, but also, one of my favorites. Part slasher, part erotic horror, this poem offers the reader the perfect POV of a woman scorned and out for revenge. The last sentence in this poem is damn near perfect, so I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s one I won’t soon forget.
If you’ve been looking to dip your toes into horror stories with a sexy edge, be sure to check out Tiffany Michelle Brown’s How Lovely To Be a Woman.