by Hannah Bressler
1. Her story telling feels fresh. I don't know anyone else who writes about loneliness of socially strange people trying to form intense connections to other, equally strange people.
Her characters are so strange and they don't apologize for themselves. Maybe she believes her readers are maybe just as strange, or at least are very capable of empathizing with the strange, lonely characters she invents.
2. She is bold. It's as if no place in literature is off limits with her. She would take you anywhere, even uncomfortable places because she wants you to come with her. It's generous, it's creepy, and it's intimate.
Maybe her type of humanity isn't the kind of thing you would admit to your mother or even book club. But I read "No One Belongs Here More Than You" (her book of short stories) and "The First Bad Man" (her most recent novel) in a matter of hours, not even days. I couldn't stop reading her overly personal tone, her character's intense introspection, or the humor and awkwardness of the interactions. It's as if she invited you into her head to say "See? I knew you'd like it here."
by Hannah Bressler
Full of graphic lesbian sex, underground parties, fights, drug trips, and heartbreak relationships, Michelle Tea (founder of the traveling spoken-word and performance group "Sister Spit") writes her autobiographical novel in the way I wish Keroac wrote "On The Road." It's chaotic, intense and emotionally charged but full of clear intention to tell a good story. It's also pretty well organized as a book of essays that narrates her life as a sexual deviant (lesbian punk and sex worker) on the margins of society. "Valencia" has even more of a grown-up feel then the book that first turned me on to Tea's work, "The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America"; the conclusions about loss are deeper, there's more fights, more sex, more thoughts about queer culture and more moments to fall in love. You will devour this book.