I have never been a big fan of reviewing short stories, that doesn’t keep me from excepting them of course (cause I do enjoy READING them) but I find them difficult to review. Why? Because with the changing of plots comes the changing of emotions, and if my mind (as muddled as it already is) is forced to become a quick-change artist, then my review must mimic it, (or suffer the consequences.)
For example, when I first started Bernard Schaffer’s “Women and Other Monsters” I didn’t like it. I felt that the first story was disjointed and forced, and though the overall concept was a good one, the execution lacked that “certain something” that is required when writing in so few words. (Do I actually know what this “certain something” is? No, but believe me when I say that it is important.) Now..having disliked the first story so much, I went into the second with a “slightly less the honky dory” attitude, and much to my surprise (thank God for Schaffer) I finally found what I was looking for, (a well formed, interesting story, with a twisty plot and interesting characters.) While I won’t go into detail about each story (because they are short stories.. duh.. 2 sentence from me and I’ll blow the ending) I CAN tell you that throughout the course of this collection my views on Shaffer’s work changed approximately every 15 seconds, and at one point I found myself so grossed out (I’m talking oh-for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy-you-are-a-sick-sick-man grossed out) that I actually hunted down the author on Twitter and wagged my chubby finger at him.
So what are these stories actually about? (Now that I’ve pretty much told you that I’m mildly conflicted.)
Well, like I said before it is a collection of short stories, (6 to be exact) that span the wildest range of topics I think I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There were vampires, Death Gods, astronauts, super secret spies (my favorite, and the longest in the book by the way) and…Uh, I can’t even say it… let’s go with a suspicious wife.
Each of these stories were told in their own unique way (folklore, suspense, contemporary) and the writing varied in each, but if I am to solidify my “take” on each of these and reduce them to one word I would go with “GOOD”. No, the first story “The Reluctant Death” wasn’t all that great, but the second was actually quite entertaining, and as much as I hate for even mentioning the third, regardless of it’s “topic,” the story was written well and completely caught me off guard which…speaks highly of the authors ability to write “twists.”
Do I think these stories are for everyone? Absolutely not… I will actually go on record as saying this is a 35% read. Meaning only 35% of you will get and or appreciate the pictures drawn in your head from Schaffer’s words. The other 65% of you (those of you that don’t appreciate the slightly insane) will wish you could have your money back. So… here is my suggestion to you. Think very carefully about the type of person you are and the type of books you enjoy before diving into this one. It is not nice, clean, normal or meant for children.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Unless you are 100% certain of the type of “person” your spouse is, don’t “surprise” them at work.
Click image for complete details.