The Wednesday Flower Man

by Dianne Warren
164 pages,
ISBN: 0919926681

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In counterpoint to a cover illustration of a Don Johnson look-alike, hugely dressed to the right, the stories in Dianne Warren's The Wednesday Flower Man are feminist in the most basic (and most advanced) sense: the diversity of female experience is greater than the range of differences between men and women.
"Weak Hearts" has Alex furious with wife Rose, who shows up at a wedding reception in an outfit both revealing and red. When she approaches him after the dinner, "it was too late. He didn't want to dance with her anyway, not in that whore's dress." His response is not so different from the adolescent heroine of "Sunday Rodeos." Crazy in love with a cowboy, she ruthlessly appraises his wife: "She has a funny nose, a real honker, and she's got this laugh that would drive you crazy if you had to be around her. I would tell her to shut up, just shut up that stupid mouth. I might even hit her it she didn't do what I said. I probably would hit her because she would drive me crazy."
"Modern Girls" Moira and Carly have a complicitous intimacy, but their loyalty is limited. Carly says, "I think every woman should have at least one affair with a married man... if women are going to live in the modern world they have to be able to handle things." If that pragmatism sounds cynical, there's a gentler reality in "Elite Cafe" when
Melanie makes dinner for her father and brother. "Petie burned his mouth because he bit into his hamburger when it was too hot. Melanie hugged him until he stopped crying."
Sisterhood is beautiful, and as anyone with a sister will admit, it is also complex, baffling, and often painfully funny.

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