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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.0 out of 5
5 Stars
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4 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Patchy Tales

    I am a big fan of the short story and have read quite a few over the years, be they collections from various authors in one volume or in a single volume. There is something special about a perfectly formed short tale that makes the heart sing with satisfaction. Unfortunately, that is not the case with these 13 tales and 1 poem. The author has either forgotten that each story needs a beginning, middle and end or is so caught up with trying to provide allegory that the story suffers. There is, therefore an unresolved aspect to the majority of these tales; in fact I felt like they were either failed chapters for the start of a book or a precis for a book rather than a complete tale in its own right. Underwhelmed - 2 Stars Charming enough tale but told in abrupt sentences that distract you from the characters. Nice touches of whimsy but not quite enough to make it a good read. Loved the double cross at the end though and I have to say I do think Pete did the right thing by Marian. Blind Date - 2 Stars Told from the perspective of a 16 year old girl and there is a brave attempt made to emulate the speech and language of this contemporary age group. Sadly comes off as forced and the superficiality of the main character is rather unpleasant and not indicative of real people but rather a media friendly interpretation. A Fitting Matter - 4 Star By far the best story in the book and one of the longest. I loved the early portion dealing with the trials and tribulations of getting your first bra. Just the right amount of humour combined with the pathos of the family estrangement and the denouement tied everything up with a nice shiny bow. Finding Out - 3 Star This one is a ghost story with a little bit of witchcraft thrown in and is one of the longer tales. This length gives the characters - Sara and James - time to develop and for the background of the haunting to be explained. Their experiences with the apparition are vastly different but Sara's is told in compelling detail. This is where it then falls apart unfortunately as the ending is rushed and feels tacked on just to close the tale off. Staying Put - 1 Star I can see what the author is trying to achieve with this claustrophobic little tale but sadly she does not pull it off. Left me feeling confused and disappointed. Eaten Up - 2 Star Moments of fun in this tale of mother's words warping a childs view - If you don't eat up you won't have babies! Unfortunately mother was wrong and now we have 6 under the age of 5 to cope with. Good description of the agony and ecstacy of child rearing but again felt rushed. Lament - 2 Star Traditional poem in rhyming lines, not bad but not great either. First Feast - 3 Star This one in particular felt like the synopsis for a longer form story which then failed to materialise from the author's imagination. Wonderful description of the boarding school and the first glimpse of plentiful food after the end of World War II but that is by far the best bit of the story. A Slight Invasion - 3 Star What do you do when the babies don't come? She submits herself to interminable rounds of IVF, he decides to be unfaithful. Quirky story but unresolved in the end; I am sure the Book Clubs will love this one as there is much to discuss about motivation and where the tale may have gone but it does leave you feeling a little cheated. The Real Prize - 2 Star This one is all about how the love of a good woman bettered one man and his former friend and colleague's decline in the same time period. The narrator is unlikeable and although this perhaps feel like one of the closest to an intended short story it still has, that word again, a rushed feeling to the prose. A Change Of Support - 2 Star Great description of a controlling relationship and how one person can strip everything from you whilst making you believe it is for the best, Matt does everything that the Mental Health websites tells us to check to see if our partner is a narcissist. The author has clearly watched one too many Infomercials (that Insomnia can be a right pain can't it) as the mattress Matt buys for her has all the blurb from one and from the tale of trying to unpack it I am sure the author either caved in and purchased or knows someone who did. The early half of the story is the best bit and it rapidly becomes strangely surreal and unappealing. A Material Trip - 2 Star I cannot remember one single thing about this story so maybe I should downgrade it to 1 Star. However, I have marked it in my trusty notebook as a 2 so it will stay that way. Well Woman - 3 Star We all know how important it is to keep an eye on our health and one of the oft purported ways is to have a Well Woman check annually (or a Well Man if you are, you know, well male). This is a fun tale told with a tongue in checking knowing nod to all ladies about the horrors of that back opening gown and the intrusive poking and prodding. I now find myself wanting my own little pros

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