In the United States, when somebody claims a person “throws like a girl,” the insinuation is derogatory because it asserts that the person cannot play effectively. According to the internet, the fastest woman softball pitch was 73.3 miles per hour using a technique that utilized an underarm windmill motion. The 73.3 mph clock speed pales in comparison to the top speeds using the “manly” overarm technique that enables a properly whipped ball to travel well over 100 miles per hour. However, if we are talking U.S. Olympic gold medals, “throwing like a girl” loses its derogatoriness because the U.S. women's’ softball team (using the girly underarm technique) has currently more gold winning success than the U.S. men's’ baseball team.
I am sorry to say that this has nothing to do with National Book Award Finalist Jean Thompson’s new book Throw Like a Girl, which is not a inter-sport pitching discourse but rather a collection of unsweetened and endowing rumors. The modes of women traversing the skeins of Thompson’s lore assort from lovers to fighters with fearful vulnerabilities that chorus the bargain trysts and traumas of modern living. In the tale “Lost,” a nameless college girl sharing a man with another woman contemplates her lesser station:
I decided I didn’t want to make a scene. Scenes were not acceptable. None of us back then liked to think of ourselves as hung up on jealousy and possessiveness, which were equated with materialism and bourgeois values and all the things bad about the old order ... The ideal was to be free and honest and open and careless. It worked about as well as you’d expect.
From an old family recipe, Thompson serves up her own “just” desserts in “Pie of the Month.”
For whole days at a time you could almost forget there was a War going on; there was too much else to crowd it out. But the War was like a pie you’d left in the oven, something nagging at you, a task left unfinished.
Throw Like a Girl has twelve stories but is a baker’s dozen altogether. Give it a whirl. Jean Thompson’s other works include Who Do You Love: Stories, Wide Blue Yonder: A Novel, and City Boy: A Novel.