On the Novel, Human Slices, by Gloria Bowman

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Shortly after my Q&A with author Gloria Bowman, her novel, Human Slices finally made it to the top of my reading stack. But if you follow my Book Review Corner, my stack is all nonfiction, right? There are exceptions, to be sure.

Human Slices: A Love Story

Bowman’s book spurred my curiosity because it has a female main character we see less of in novels – she is decidedly childfree. She published this book in 2000, a time when very few if any novels had characters like this, or highlighted being childfree as an important part of the story. I think it is fair to say she is a pioneer of the dedicated childfree woman in novels!

However, like she writes in the interview, Human Slices is first “a romance, a story about coupling and uncoupling and recoupling.” Main characters Salm (short for “Little Salmon,” her father’s childhood nickname for her) and Luke are refreshingly “a bit on the quirky side” and who have lifestyles that are “a bit off-kilter.” This is true for their friends as well.

Because Salm is very clear she does not want motherhood to be part of her adult life, it has led to break ups in the past. Her history shows that being childfree and finding love does not come easy. With Luke it is different – he seems to have no problem with Salm not wanting children. The story takes us through how they are drawn to each other, their love affair, from its passionate beginnings through their dance of independence and togetherness, to the precipice of commitment.

Then Luke’s best friend has a child. How does this impact Luke’s feelings about becoming a father some day? Does he decide that he does want this one day? How is this reconciled with wanting to be with Salm? Human Slices, indeed, shows us a slice of the importance of the parenthood decision in relationships that are standing at a crossroads of ending or going the distance.

“Slices” has additional meaning as well in this story. Childfree or not, as I bet you will enjoy this love story, early on you’ll see another reason why Bowman cleverly gives her book the title, “Human” Slices.

One thought on “On the Novel, Human Slices, by Gloria Bowman

  1. When I read Gloria’s dedication page, “To women who have chosen to be child free” I wondered if she coined the term…was it around back in 1999 when she would have been writing the book?

    The beginning makes it clear the internal feelings of Salm: “Easily alone, completely alone, and very much content being that way.”

    Glad to see this review on your site!

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