Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who the Hell is Rachel Wells? by J.R. Greenwell

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions
Pages: 219

Who the Hell is Rachel Wells? is a debut collection of queer-themed stories, mostly centered around the world of drag queens, or potential drag queens, in small southern towns. Eleven engaging stories, some serious, some silly, some bittersweet, others joyous, and all of them unique.

Most notable for me were: The Scent of Honeysuckle, the touching story of Sammy, a warm-hearted gay teen living on the streets, doing anything to survive. Duplicity, about co-workers at a community center who open up to each other while being held hostage by a troubled gunman. And Virgil’s Eulogy, the over-the-top story of an over-the-hill drag queen who performs her last dramatic performance while give a Eulogy for his lost lover.

I didn’t find these stories particularly well written. They are, however, unique, moving, big-hearted, often funny, and always sprinkled with a healthy dash of campy bitchiness. These are character-driven stories, and these wonderful characters, with their spirited souls and injured hearts, are worth reading about.

I look forward to more from J.R. Greenwell.

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