In Break Any Woman Down, Dana Johnson explores race,
identity, and alienation with unflinching honesty and vibrant
language. Hip and seductive, her stories often feature women
discovering their identities through sexual and emotional intimacy
with the men in their lives.
In the title story, La Donna is a black stripper whose white
boyfriend, an actor in adult movies, insists that she stop
stripping. In "Melvin in the Sixth Grade," eleven-year-old Avery
has a crush on a white boy from Oklahoma who, like Avery, is an
outsider in their suburban Los Angeles school. "Markers" is as much
about a woman's relationship with her mother as it is about the
dissolution of her relationship with an older Italian man.
Dana Johnson has an intuitive sense of character and a gift for
creating authentic voices. She effortlessly captures the rhythmic
vernaculars of Los Angeles, the American South, and various
immigrant communities as she brings to life the sometimes
heavyhearted, but always persevering, souls who live there.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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