"Target" is a compelling, rele-vant story. On one level it's a study in quietly placed wistful- ness, placing the reader in its center. The author creates a space that facilitates an experi- ence of empathy. On another level, it's a profound exposé of why we make the choices we make, and how, in the face of consequence, we are able—when we are able—to make peace with these choices.
Jill Alexander Essbaum
In my forty-four years of teach-ing and editing, I’ve read count-less stories about abused wom- en but never one like "Brace Yourself." Without a single scene of abuse (and the sensa-tionalism such scenes almost inevitably create), the story parses its soul-shattering ef-fects. At one point, the narrator says, "It’s odd, even savage, how lies are sometimes tender while truth can surprise you, like a backhand across the cheek." This story surprises us with just such a truth. Reader, brace yourself.
Prime Number Magazine
Leslie Jill Patterson’s "We Know the Drill," arguably the book’s most masterful essay, weaves personal narrative with threads about All in the Family, Lorena Bobbitt, and the portrayal of heterosexual marriage in tele-vision: it’s a powerhouse of an essay, more relevant—even pre-scient, in light of the Steuben-ville rape case—now more than ever."
J. Capo Crucet
In Leslie Jill Patterson’s "We Know the Drill," this genre of writing has a masterpiece, a study of sitcom-husband tropes that interweaves personal stories of physical, sexual, and emo-tional abuse, cannily exposing TV’s failures at cultural instruc-tion where it’s most necessary. "Drill" is emblematic of the most expert pieces in this collection, which foreground the personal without being narcissistic. That’s a liberating idea for the cultural essay—criticism that makes art its starting point but not its destination.
Washington City Paper
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is full of rich writing and a deep under-standing of the crooked kind we are. I like, too, the manuscript's emphasis on the necessity of story, that one of the ways we best understand ourselves is by throwing some English at real life to see what remains between margins when the fever dissi-pates. . . . I fell in love early and often with these people—flawed and fetching and determined to go forward even as the past lies in still smoking ruins."
Lee K. Abbott
Everett Southwest Award
Read selections from my mountain stories and essays right here.