The exquisitely artful fiction debut of Elissa Schappell: a novel told in ten stories that resonate with the most profound experiences in the life of a young woman--friendship and rivalry, the love for a man, the birth of a child, and the death of a father.
Use Me explores the fierce bonds between close friends, fathers and daughters, mothers and children, and the underlying desire and loss inherent in these ever evolving relationships. As she grows from a rebellious adolescent in the preppy suburbs of Delaware to a sexually fraught and reluctant adult in New York City, Evie Wakefield struggles to connect and negotiate intimacy with the men in her life: Chas Wakefield, her larger-than-life father, who has cheated cancer for years; Billy, her sexy, responsibility--shy musician husband; and Charlie, her needy young son.
All the while she attempts to keep up with her best friend and sometime competitor, the sophisticated and reckless Mary Beth McEvoy, who seems to draw to her just what she wants, and holds a mirror to Evie's darkest desires. Use Me vividly captures the undeniable truths of loyalty and betrayal, of heartbreak and sexual yearning, as evoked by a young writer of devastating gifts.Evie and Mary Beth: two women who could hardly be more different--or more deeply sympathetic. They could be the light and the dark in one person, but in fact they are best friends, occasional competitors, reflections of what's missing from each other's lives. Evie is emotionally articulate, painfully sensitive, and provoked by a desire to inhabit the hearts of those she loves most--her father, sick with cancer; her musician husband; her needful young son. Mary Beth is sharp, sophisticated, and utterly beguiling; the kind of woman who draws to her exactly what she desires (including, in one troubling evening, Evie's father). Perhaps calculated, but certainly careless with her friend's affections, Mary Beth makes her own life seem effortless. And for Evie, she serves as a reminder of the innocent sexual and emotional freedom she longs to recapture.
As her father slips from her grasp, Evie falls into conflict with those she should be pulling close and tries to acknowledge her own weaknesses in the face of doing the right thing. What's revealed in these stories are the undeniable truths of loyalty and betrayal, of heartbreak and sexual yearning, evoked by a young writer of devastating gifts....Continua