Saturday, June 30

Book Review: Who Do You Think You Are?

Title: Who Do You Think You Are?

Author: Alice Munro

Pages: 219

Summary: Rose and her stepmother, Flo, live in Hanratty-across the bridge from the "good" part of town. Rose, alternately fascinated and appalled by the rude energy of the people around her, grows up nursing her hope of outgrowing her humble beginnings and plotting an escape to university.
Rose makes her escape and thinks herself free. But Hanratty's question-Who Do You Think You Are?-rings in her ears during her days in Vancouver, mocks her attempts to make her marriage successful, and haunts her new career.

In these stories of Rose and Flo, Alice Munro explores the universal story of growing up-Rose's struggle to accept herself tells the story of our lives.

My Rating: 9.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this collection of short stories by Alice Munro. It was incredibly well written, and each interconnected story was detailed, absorbing and had the feel of a full novel.  I was amazed at how well done each story was. Usually I read collections such as this one quickly, reading three or four stories at a time. This was one I read slowly, because the amount of detail and content in each story made it feel like I'd read something much longer.

The only issue I had was it took me a long time to like Rose, it wasn't until the last two stories in the collection when I began to see something there and see her differently. I think this collection is one I'll need to reread to fully appreciate who Rose was, see some of her traits I may have missed because I focused on something else told in her story. Rose was an incredibly fleshed out and developed character, who was also a very flawed and realistic character. I think a lot of readers could connect to at least one aspect of Rose's character at some point through her life. Looking back at her earlier year, I did feel for her. As a young women, I was annoyed by her. By the end, I appreciated her.

Alice Munro writing shines here, and I think this book is the perfect place to start if you haven't tried her out yet. A fantastic read!

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this was an excellent collection of short stories.

What to read next: Agassiz Stories, More By Alice Munro, Atwood's Short Story Collections, Street of Riches


  1. I've never read any short stories by Munro, but these sound really interesting. I will keep them in mind when I am in bookshops and see if I can find them

    1. Oh you're missing out. This book has an alternative title, The Begger Maid. In case you can't find it.

  2. The cover on your edition is so interesting; it's striking, but I'm glad that I didn't have an image of Rose to start with. For me, my sympathy for her started early (with the shame that she felt at school and the horrible treatment at the hands of her father and step-mother in "Royal Beatings"), but I had read some of those stories (RB for sure) many years ago, so I might have been pre-sympathetic, even though I didn't feel like I remembered anything when I read the collection through this time.

    1. There are a few books by the author with this style of cover. I really like them. Oddly enough, I didn't think of Rose as the woman on the cover. The treatment by her father definitely gets the reader's sympathy.

  3. I never used to read short stories, but have discovered that they can be great fillers for in between novels, especially when I am unsure of what to read next. Thank you for your review and recommendation. I will have to pick up a copy.

    1. They are great filler for in between novels, and just to grab and read on a relax day. This book is one well worth picking up, I hope you enjoy it when you do.