I recognize the vulnerability and pain associated with growing up as a girl, and I recognize a particular beauty about young women, even if they don't always recognize it themselves.
—Kristy Hoffman, author
At the age of 22, aspiring filmmaker and journalism major Kristy Hoffman is about to launch her first book.
Late Bloomers: A Book About Young Women is a collection of short stories Hoffman wrote after interviewing girls and women about their lives.
She says she wrote the book to create empathy - not sympathy - for young women. "I recognize the vulnerability and pain associated with growing up as a girl, and I recognize a particular beauty about young women, even if they don't always recognize it themselves," she explains.
A portion of every book sold will go to Osborne House, a safe house for women and children in Winnipeg.
SCENE asked Hoffman to set up an excerpt from Late Bloomers: A Book About Young Women.
Deb in "Late Bloomers: A Book About Young Women" by Kristy Hoffman
Deb is a short story about Nelly, a 20 year-old department store employee and Deb, a middle-aged sex trade worker. Deb asks Nelly to call a community night watch program to walk her home from the department store, and Nelly waits with her after calling.
Deb describes her experiences and Nelly is empathetic. Nelly expresses sadness over Deb's story to her female boss and to her mother, who are indifferent to Deb's story.
Nelly questions who women her age should consider role models: those who are looked down upon by society, but have lived to tell stories that can change minds, or those who are respected within society, but show indifference to others' suffering.
I phoned the Biz to walk her home, and the operator said it would be a while. When I hung up, the woman stared at me. Her eye sockets were hollow and her teeth were rotten. Flakes of skin split from cracks in her lips and her fine, blonde hair was tangled.
"You're beautiful," she told me.
I admitted to wearing false eyelashes and she admitted to being an addict. Rather than love, she has known three violent men, and Child and Family Services took her son away. When she asked about my parents, I said I only have one. "Abuse is a cycle," she said, "and the clerk downstairs was a bitch." I told her most of them are. Honesty, we agreed, is the best policy.
And then she told me a secret. It was summertime in the nineties when she sat in the parking lot of 7/11; her girlfriend asked if she had her pipe and pointed to a pick-up truck across the street.
"Crack," she whispered. "I would have done anything for it, so I guess I did."Kristy Hoffman launches Late Bloomers: A Book About Young Women Wednesday April 3, 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson.
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