Going Away Shoes: Stories is an anthology of 11 short stories that focus on older women who reflect on their lives while managing personal crises. The caregiver of a dying mother sorts through boxes of her mother's shoes while remembering her own side-tracked romance & journalism career. A gentle grandmother struggles to accept her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter who both have potty mouths. A newly-divorced mother has a Christmas Eve Roto-Rooter emergency while she prepares for a visit from her ex & his family (parents & new wife). Returning to their childhood home, a woman & her brother remember their successful plots to prevent their father from replacing their dead mother with a new wife. A single mother, working as a school nurse, learns through painting to make lemonade out of her mistakes. A second wife wonders about her husband's first marriage. An extended letter to her former marriage counselor reveals a woman ready to grow beyond her stifling marriage. A married woman, via a road trip, helps her first lover during his last days of cancer even though he has his own wife & family nearby. One evening a retired schoolteacher, a soccer mom, and teenaged girl all look for salvation through "magic words" from their men. (Sorry. I love you. Thank you. Please.) A reformed drunkard unfortunately instigates an intervention for her abstemious husband via her distant children who will gather for just that purpose but not for general social contact with their parents. Lastly, a woman protects herself against matchmakers by inventing a convincing phantom lover.
As pathetic as these stories could be, McCorkle infuses each with a lyricism unique to her prose. Taken as a group, these stories seem feminist in their focus, but they are not the rabid sort of feminism: they are the silently desperate sort.
Submitted by Leah @ Wisconsin Talking Book & Braille Library