NewPages magazine review by Katy Haas
bioStories invites readers into the daily lives of those around us. Ann S. Epstein’s “My Name Could Be Toby Gardner” explores a topic that follows all of us daily: our names.
Born to a family of immigrants, Epstein begins by breaking down her parents’, grandparents’, sibling’s, and aunt’s name, each of them going by one that was not given to them at birth. Once she makes it to her own name, Epstein considers the ways which we tie identity to the name people call us. But she’s never felt connected to neither her first nor last names.
There is something almost comical about the way Epstein rights about this. The constant back and forth and corrections of the names of the people she’s mentioning in her piece are handled with levity, but she concludes on a more serious tone, wondering if names can be lost if they don’t make their mark on their person when they’re young.
Whether you want to spend some time thinking about what names mean to identity, or you just want to learn about the intricacies of the names of Epstein’s family, this is a quick and interesting read.
About the reviewer: Katy Haas is Assistant Editor at NewPages. Recent poetry can be found in Taco Bell Quarterly, petrichor, and other journals. She regularly blogs at: https://newpagesblog.com/.