He Said What? edited by Victoria Zackheim. This lively anthology from Seal Press is subtitled "Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed" and the 25 contributors focus keenly on those instances when "a man in their life said something—good or bad, poignant or hilarious—that changed them irrevocably." Speaking as a man, I know I have my full share of blurting out plenty of bad, sweet and hilarious things to my wife and daughter, but I don't think I've ever been as insensitive as Mary Pols' father who remarked, "Your thighs have gotten much bigger since you started college" as she walked past him wearing a bikini. Ouch!
Here's an excerpt from Zackheim's introduction:
I love you. I want a divorce. The meeting ran late. Please don't tell the folks, but I'm gay. One little phrase, one casual lie, one devastating announcement and our lives are turned upside down forever. We all know that the children's rhyme boasting "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a crock. Words can hurt--deeply--and they frequently do. But they can also soothe, cajole, enliven, educate, entertain, and remind us that loving, cheating, losing, and gaining are all part of that human condition we call life. This book is a collection of gifted writers, women sharing their most intimate, true-life experiences of how one phrase, a few little words, changed their lives. Some of these stories are poignant, a few might be considered frightening, and others are laugh-out-loud funny...Whether the life-altering comment is made by a psychotic boyfriend, a dying father, someone's husband, teacher or doctor, a Russian journalist, a boss, or a frightened brother facing the threat of AIDS, the talented authors in this book offer everything from drama to delight, from havoc to the outright hilarious, from the philosophical to the whimsical, and they will remind you of that moment in your life--or, for some of you, the many moments!--when you thought to yourself, He said what? and it changed the way you looked at your life for that precise moment...or forever.A short list of the contributing authors includes: Beverly Donofrio, Abby Frucht, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Pam Houston, Caroline Leavitt, Joyce Maynard, Christine O’Hagan, and Clea Simon. This anthology of essays is good, essential reading for everyone--male and female alike--who has ever had one of those pivotal moments when life hinged on a word. For more on He Said What?, visit the book's Facebook page.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of He Said What?, all you have to do is answer this question (the answer can be found at the author's website):
Victoria Zackheim has edited several anthologies with diverse themes. What was the title of the anthology in which writers reflected about the dreams of their youth?
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on June 2--at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on June 3.