How do you even start reviewing a collection of short stories? Story by story? As a whole? Both? We’re just going to give it a go in our newest series: The Boring Index!
How many stories do I need to read? 13. A very decent amount. The title story is by far the longest, but most stories are between 15 and 20 pages.
What was the least boring story? I had two personal favourites. The first one is Vampires of Queens about a young boy who thinks he turned into a vampire and goes to an old blind man in his apartment – who is also a vampire – to ask for help. My second favourite is Literature I Gave You Everything and Now What Am I? about the struggles of being a writer and writing in public. The start of this story had me laughing out loud and the hard truths about the writerly life made me cringe.
What was the most boring story? The stories that stuck with me the least was What I’ve been Trying to Do All This Time. The story is about an author called David Gordon who gets contacted by an Argentinian girl who is writing her dissertation about his work. She comes over to America and finds out that Gordon also wrote a bunch of smut in his younger years to make money and then bails. Luckily for Gordon, another woman who does appreciate his porn comes along and finally they hook up Unfortunately for Gordon, none of these women are interested in reading his newest attempt at a novel. I really had to reread the story to tell you what happened in it, which is all that much.
Short Story Boring Index: The collection has a very low boring index, as most of the stories were funny, weird or interesting in some way. The title story is hard to read sometimes, especially in public with all those crazy sexual asides, but I wasn’t able to put it down either. Most of the stories deal with subjects that seem personal to Gordon, like being a writer and the insecurities that come with that, but also about being Jewish and what it is like for a somewhat nerdy boy to grow up. Some stories are even blatantly about Gordon himself, which gives the collection a very private feel. Sometimes this can come across as narcissism, but then again aren’t most writers writing about themselves in one way or another? The collection is funny and awkward and Gordon’s very recognizable voice has no problem keeping your eyes on the page.
We received an ARC from the publisher HMH New Harvest through Netgalley.