What I love about “The Bubba Stories” is the fact that the plot is not unique at all. There is nothing new in a story about a coming of age story of a girl going to college and telling lies, which is essentially what the plot is what it’s boiled down. However, Lee Smith is able to take that story that any girl who goes to college and tries to find herself can identify with (some, like us, more than others because of the setting,) and understand. It covers so many cliche topics like moving away, the desire to be interesting, loss of virginity, and that feeling of helplessness after a first love, that I would argue is what makes the story so compelling.
Cliches are Cliches for a reason. They are around so often because at the heart of the matter there is something so true about them that they are inescapable. It’s the way we sympathize with the character that makes this story so successful. We care about her, we understand her and feel like we know her, she isn’t just another nameless faceless teenage girl, she’s more developed than that. This is what I struggle with in my writing. I wish that I could take a subject that is overworked, and reshape it into something new. How is she able to create such a full character without giving us her entire life story and background? In fact, what pieces of the background that we do get are made up, the stories about her fictitious brother Bubba, so it’s not even the truth. That, to me, is the biggest feat of the story. Creating a character so fully developed in so little space that can bring a tired story back to life.