Boys Buy Me Drinks to Watch Me Fall Down

By Anna Dickson James




“Story after story gave me the uneasy feeling that I’d been outed, my secret anxiety and exhaustion laid bare. The emotional computations of the characters are constant, a steady drone that directs them to accommodate everyone, as much as possible, all the time.”
— Allison Moore, from the Introduction

A sentient zombie starves for intelligent brains and meaningful relationships in an increasingly vapid world.

A newly single woman struggles to keep up with a creepy, near-future beauty culture.

Anthropomorphic furniture ruins a man’s health, career, and love life.

A woman gets eaten alive by a well-meaning boyfriend.

​​​​​​​The surreal landscape of the stories in this award-winning collection shines a fish-eye lens on the female experience while taking a shockingly hilarious plunge into themes of addiction, abuse, sex, and gender roles.


ISBN: 978-1-952600-33-3

Publication date: 27 June 2023

Paperback price: 18


Fortunately for all those enthusiastic cover-judgers, the pages inside absolutely live up to the promise of their candy-coating. Anna Dickson James's short stories - deftly winding together the surreal and the all-too-real like a giant spiral lollipop - are guaranteed to sate any literary sweet tooth, even while occasionally acting as a lure into a pervert's unmarked van.

Dave Fitzgerald, author of TROLL

Razor-sharp tales of fortitude and self-discovery.

– Kirkus Reviews

By turning up the volume on the soundtrack of emotional labor, Dickson James affirms its existence – for all her characters, men and women, and even for competent, sane feminists.

Yes, it’s terrifying to feel exposed. But it’s also a relief to be recognized. And know you are not alone.

– Allison Moore, from the Introduction

What's particularly striking is Dickson Jame's scalpel blade upon the experience of female bodies, excising their experiences one deft stroke at a time, revealing all the ways women desire and are denied or neglected or rejected or told their desires are unimportant, negligible. And each story is richly told with language that is nothing less than deeply, vividly sensual. These stories slide across the skin, caress the mind, and rake their fingernails through our visions of our culture, our future, and our lives as we live them now. A beautiful read that will make you think and feel, and most importantly, think about what it is that you are feeling.

– Amy Myer

Sublime sublimation.

The characters in these stories are consumed, drowned, burned and worn away by daily life, by love and desire and marriage, by hungers of all sorts. They are sublimated in the physical sense--a change of state--as well as in the psychological sense of turning socially unacceptable impulses into ones our strange society will allow. I may be making it all sound too cerebral, because these stories are also witty, honed, sexy and darkly funny.

– Walker James

James has a wonderful talent for capturing distinctly altered psychological states – be it depression, inebriation, addiction, or agoraphobia. She eases you into her characters' problems such that you feel them before you quite realize how you got there, or just how deep they run. Via grandly simple metaphors like zombies and cannibalism and room-sized recliners that recall Kafka's harrow, she reveals exacting truths about both the enormity, and the mundanity of daily life, not just for her cornucopia of restless seeker heroines, but for all of us.

– Dave Fitzgerald