Engendering complicity with her readers in a way that seems voyeuristic yet compassionate is a magical feat on Hempel's part. You'd be forgiven for thinking that some of these stories are autobiographical; Hempel is that convincing in her first-person portrayals. The closest comparison I could make is Richard Yates'
This is a beautiful book with emotion to spare. When you're finished, I'll pass you the tissue and the bottle.