All in Together Girls.


150 pages
ISBN 978-1-897235-24-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern
Languages and Literatures at Laurentian University.


In the 14 short stories in this collection about real life, Kate Sutherland deftly explores the many everyday crises, the difficult small truths, decisions, and revelations that inform the experiences and shape the lives of girls and women. Sutherland’s characters are authentic, and their voices are true and believable, from the little fourth-grade girls in the title story to the young woman musing about her broken love affair over soggy French toast, from the bitterly unhappy, controlling Evangelinethe perfect hostess of the perfectly planned dinner partyto the unselfconsciously confident 15-year old Nicole come into the city “from the acreage,” who is true to herself in the company of her cousin’s purposefully super-cool friends.


The girls and women in these stories navigate situations and negotiate their sexuality, their identity, and their purpose in life with themselves, with family, lovers, husbands, and friends in ways that resonate with all women. If we weren’t the fat girl with glasses in fourth grade who was teased and tormented by her classmates, then we were the fat girl’s only friend and another misfit yearning to belong, or we were those fourth-grade girls whose exquisite cruelty was only matched by their popularity. If we weren’t one of the four young teenagers drinking in a church parking lot on a Saturday night and then mixing it up with another group of teens outside the all-night Country Style, then we heard all about it at school the next day. If we are not the woman who leaves her husband because he has betrayed both her body and her imagination, Sutherland makes it possible for us to understand her mother’s silent gesture of explanation and support.


Kate Sutherland captures her characters in the most mundane and the most extraordinary moments of their lives, when hopes are raised, dreams are dashed, or a perspective shifts ever so slightly. These stories can make you laugh, they might make you cry, or shiver with remembered rage and embarrassment or longing. Written in a clean, spare style that immediately pulls the reader into the moment, this is a thought-provoking yet deeply satisfying read.


Sutherland, Kate., “All in Together Girls.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,