Strange Horizons, 1 November 2004

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"Some Girlfriends Can" by Stephanie Burgis

"Some Girlfriends Can" face their boyfriend's ex-lover, even if she is a goddess.  Stephanie Burgis captured my interest from the first paragraph of this engaging tale and kept it right through to the end.  Lauren must endure the mother of all parties, a shin-dig in the neighborhood of the gods, where she is surrounded by perfect specimens of every species, including humans of course.  She battles her own self image, reflecting on her myriad of flaws and wondering how she can ever compete with Maya the ex, who "isn't model-slim, [she's] lush".

The narrative is brilliant, focusing on Lauren and her attempts to endure her own shortcomings.  Burgis shoves her protagonist into a most uncomfortable situation, and to my joy, pulls her out stronger on the other side.  In our society, where women struggle every day to dig up a shred of self esteem, Lauren is a touchstone of wisdom and courage.