A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore (2009) came to me highly recommended.

Narrator Tassie Keltjin, farm girl (although I've never personally heard anyone remotely connected with farming refer to a cow's udders as breasts before. . . .) off to university in the "Big City" of Troy, Michigan, lands a job in Fall 2001 as a nanny for a couple preparing to adopt.

Really a coming-of-age story, including a grand romantic relationship for Tassie (yes, that's sarcasm), where she finally learns about Real Life and the Real World in all its nastiness, I just didn't care enough about Tassie to appreciate her slice-of-life experience.

Although I definitely didn't like or appreciate the book, only feeling engaged by my mental image of the child Tassie babysits, I kept reading until the bitter end because I wanted to learn what was "up" with Tassie's employers, who just seemed completely off. Sure enough, the truth about their past is bad, and Tassie is left forever changed and heartbroken at the end.

My overall personal rating of A Gate at the Stairs is a C.


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