Monday, March 14, 2016

Reader's Diary #1275- Kseniya Melnik: Strawberry Lipstick

When I hear the term "coming of age story," I tend to think of stories about teenagers at the cusp of adulthood. Kseniya Melnik's coming of age story "Strawberry Lipstick," however, tends to look at coming of age as a maturation process that (arguably more realistically) extends into adulthood and is depends upon experiences and how one faces and interprets them.

Set in Russia, beginning in 1958, with brief mentions of Ukraine and Turkmenistan, I found that compelling enough, but I also enjoyed the way Melnik challenged the idea that people matured faster back then simply because they moved into adult lifestyles earlier in life. It tells of Olya, a young woman who is impatient to enter into this adult world and willing, at least at first, to settle for less than her ideal and convince herself that things will get better on their own.

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