What Counts as Love by Marian Crotty


Jenny was divorced with two kids. She had many theories about relationships, most of which came from the Oprah Network that she watched on small monitors at the dental office while she cleaned teeth. “I couldn’t tell you his love language, but I’d guess it’s not words of affirmation. Does he buy you gifts?” 

Love, all we think we know and all we guess at, the insecurities, regrets, longings. Love as friendships, physical love, broken love, rough love, love as a haven- Marian Crotty has written stories about love in all it’s faces, ugly, beautiful, tortured- you name it. “Crazy For You” was fantastic, girls on the verge of sexual awakening, the dawning of awareness of their effect on grown men (welcome or not), witness to the ugly truth of love before they’ve even scratched the surface of their sexuality, while spying on a beautiful neighbor’s sexual exploits. In “A New Life” the tragedy of loss consuming a woman, her husband’s seeming ease with getting over it, moving on. Love spent, broken, and bled dry- terrified of her marriage ending at any moment, instead moving to Abu Dhabi and discovering betrayal. Some characters are fledglings, others battered veterans of love leaving abuse, recovering from loss, but each are trying to find something solid to anchor them. Sometimes the reader will laugh at their characters, other times feel their crushing defeat. There are so many stories about love, not all of them happy and safe. Some take whatever they can get and others discard the garbage they never should have let in! An insightful collection!

Publication Date: October 15, 2017

University of Iowa Press

John Simmons Short Fiction Award

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