“Baby, Come Hug” — Teaching Amy Hempel in a Vulnerable Time

Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies

BJ Hollars is the author of several books, BJ_Author_Photo_2014 2 copyincluding two forthcoming in 2015: From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us About Life, Death, and Being Human, as well as a collection of essays, This Is Only A Test.  He can be reached through his website www.bjhollars.com


Dear Assay Readers,

The Hempel story to which I refer is indeed, fiction and was taught during a fiction class. Nevertheless, this particular story might be useful in any classroom. And as noted in the post, given the story’s thematic resonance in my own life, I felt compelled to share it. Literature has genres; life does not.

The morning after my mother-in-law died, I reread Amy Hempel’s “In The Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.”

Lord knows I didn’t want to.

In fact, of all the stories I really didn’t want to read that day, Hempel’s was at…

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