Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How You Leave Texas Review Tour

How You Leave Texas is a volume of three short stories and a novella about four young women who leave Midland, Austin, Fort Worth and Mayville, Texas for New York, California, Jakarta, and in one instance, jail.  They seek escape from boredom and sorrow and find it.  The stories are hilarious, tragic, revelatory.

Excerpt from Frying Your Burger:
I picked up the phone and called Mehta.

When he answered I asked, “Do you want to meet me somewhere and hang out for a while?”

“I can’t. I’m in the middle of tinting the hair under my arms.”

“What color?”


“Mehta, I’m in a quandary.”

“Go on.”

“That guy Zach called and we’ve got a date to meet at his house on Saturday night.”

“Did he mention anything about electric appliances or a collie suit?”


“A live studio audience.”


“Acrobatics?  Bondage?  A trained flea circus?”


“I can understand your quandary. I wouldn’t want to go either.”

“It’s not going I’m worried about. It’s leaving.”

“Just don’t leave anything behind,” he said. “Hold on a minute, the timer just went off.”

He put the phone down and I heard water running in the background. Mehta rinsing his armpits. Then there was silence as he viewed his underarm handiwork in the mirror.

“Now where were we,” he said when he picked up the phone again.

“How does it look?”

“Cheerful. Now, about the date.”

“I’m not sure I’ll have a good time.”

“My, what a poor attitude. If you don’t have a good time, steal something.”


“Take a little souvenir. An ashtray, a towel, a Ming vase.”

“Anything you particularly want for your apartment?”

“Let me think. I’d like something crystal. You can never have enough crystal.”

“You don’t have any crystal.”

“See what I mean.”

My Review:
3.5 stars

This was an interesting book. I’m left with a bit of a dilemma. I’m not quite sure how to rate this. The stories were fun (I loved the ending of Camilla’s story, I died laughing). Some were heart-warming (Dam Broke), some disgusted me (Krystal’s family in Krystal’s Wedding), and some just...I can’t even describe how I feel about Frying Your Burger. They made me think, and they drew me in. I wished the stories were longer so I could read more about several of the characters and what happened to them, which leads me to my complaints.

I wasn’t a fan of the endings to the stories. I’m not sure if they were written that way so that their could be a potential sequel, or if that’s just the way the author intended, but it bugged me. I like to have a conclusive ending of some kind, even if it’s only a HFN. The “you figure it out” and “ride off into the sunset, no one knows what’ll come next” type endings threw me. Just when I started getting into the story, it ended and I was left with tons of questions and wishing the story was just a little longer so I could get some answers. I know that these are short stories, but there are plenty of short stories that have wonderful, closed/HFN/answer endings. Plus, the beginnings were also a little weird as well. I was thrown into the middle of the story and it felt being expected to already know what’s going on. Like there were some pages missing. 

The author’s writing style was a bit awkward for me as well, and there were some grammatical errors that threw me, but I got used to it after a while and was still able to read and enjoy the book.

All in all though, this was an interesting idea that was executed fairly okay. It could have been better, but it’s still a great book, and is definitely worth the read.

Alana will be awarding a screen printed camisole (What Happens in the Bedroom Stays in the Bedroom) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour as well as a screen printed Brass Nuts t-shirt to another commenter. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Blurb Blitz Tour:
7/8 SECOND STOP Andi's Book Reviews
7/9 SECOND STOP Harlie's Books
7/15 SECOND STOP The Book Tart
8/9 SECOND STOP My Devotional Thoughts

Author Bio:
Alana Cash is an adventurer.  She’s trekked alone through war-torn Serbia and has slept in a KGB interrogation room in Prague.  She’s been to a gypsy fair in rural England, a bullfight in Laredo, and parasailing in Acapulco.  She’s been inside the New York Stock Exchange and eaten in J. Pierpont Morgan’s home dining room.  She's gone on a ride-along in a New York City patrol car and kissed a man inside the Norman Bates Psycho house at Universal Studios.  She’s been a lifeguard, legal secretary, accountant, writer, teacher, filmmaker and artist.

Her experiences are inspiration for her work as an acclaimed writer and filmmaker.

  • She was one of 60 US teachers profiled on the PBS series, "A Writer's Exchange," for her talent as a teacher at the University of Texas Informal Classes  - many of her students published and won writing awards
  • Her feature film, "Tom's Wife," based on her novel of the same name, won awards all over the world
  • Her documentary "Anna Freud: Under Analysis," part of documentary trilogy on women in science, was translated into German for broadcast in Austria, Germany & Switzerland

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