Dating Silky Maxwell: A BUST Review

by Rufus Hickok

An office worker, whose wealthy fiancée just canceled their engagement over text, lingers in a truck stop trying to decide what to do next. A motel clerk is mailed a box containing the ashes of her musician father who gave her nothing in life. A pig farmer whose husband is serving time discovers their new potential neighbor is a menacing preacher with ill intentions. The characters in TJ Butler’s short-story collection, Dating Silky Maxwell, have definitely seen some shit. Her stories are gritty, realistic, often unnerving, and far from glamorous. Protagonists make some bad choices, some desperate ones, and no easy ones. Yet they all find a way to become the hero in their own story, despite what has been expected of them in life. 

In an era in which mainstream fiction all-too-often focuses on characters who are pampered, urbane, and a little bougie, it’s refreshing to read about working women wrestling with and breaking free of cycles of poverty and abuse. Each story in this collection marks that moment of liberation, however messy, and they all leave readers wanting to know what happens next. 

Image Via ELJ Editions

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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