Sex Romp Gone Wrong (Paperback)

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Sex Romp Gone Wrong By Julia Ridley Smith Cover Image

Sex Romp Gone Wrong (Paperback)

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(FICTION)

Staff Reviews


Julia Ridley Smith’s debut collection of short stories, Sex Romp Gone Wrong: Stories, is brilliant. I say this not as a reflection of my own intellect. My own limitations do not qualify me to make such claims. Rather, I use this in relation to how brightly the stories themselves shine.

As is often the case in exceptional fiction, relationships are at the core of these stories. Not merely romantic pairings, although there is no shortage of reflection on these, they contain the vast plurality of how humans interact with each other. Friendship, motherhood, illicit lovers, the child looking after a terminally ailing parent: all of these roles are examined with compassionate wisdom and surprising depth for such short works, always served with a healthy portion of wit, sometimes sardonic, oftentimes wry, frequently hilarious. 

In this collection, Smith investigates the sometimes warring complexities that accompany the bonding, competition and rivalry that at times occurs within a group of women on a girls’ week at the beach, the smoldering after effects of a torrid night of experimentation in college, opposing forces of budding attraction versus the lure of the dependably familiar, and many other contradictory, coexisting emotional states. The author’s protagonists work through the quotidian nature of sexual violence against women, the drudgery of the pursuit of pregnancy while trying to keep the flame alive, and aging out of what seem like bonds meant to last for a lifetime.

I know or have known each of the women in these stories. Some I went to college and partied with during my days at UNC Greensboro. Others I inadvertently offended, disappointed, or betrayed at various stages of my life. Through these tales, I have come to understand their many perspectives better, with greater empathy and compassion, sometimes with humor, and at others through life's many (mini?) tragedies. The females within these pages are cosmopolitan, commonplace, naïve, and full of rich, lived experiences. All of them are well-crafted and captivating and perhaps most notably, relatable constructions of a myriad of modern femininities

— Diarra

In her debut story collection, Julia Ridley Smith navigates the currents and eddies of desire, sex, love, and relationships.These twelve highly accomplished stories are witty and accessible, intelligent and thought-provoking. A girls' week at the beach prompts hot tub drinking, awkward confessions, and a poignant reconsideration of friendship. A caregiver extracts a small repayment from her elderly patient for his long-forgotten role in the demise of her family. A young woman, new to New York City, finds herself in a complex but tacky love affair and reckons with the unfolding plot of her life. In the title story, a woman plots to conceive a second child while at a convention hotel with her husband and teenage daughter, both of whom have other plans. Smith's stories will beguile and delight readers while at the same time exploring the deep and often difficult ties of family, marriage, and romantic love in modern life.
Sex Romp Gone Wrong is Julia Ridley Smith's first story collection. Her first book, The Sum of Trifles, is a memoir published by the University of Georgia Press (2021) as a title in their Crux literary nonfiction series. Julia's short stories and essays have appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, Arts and Letters, the Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, Ecotone, Electric Literature, the Greensboro Review, the New England Review, Southern Cultures, and The Southern Review, among other places. Julia teaches creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill.
Product Details ISBN: 9781958888117
ISBN-10: 1958888117
Publisher: Blair
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English