This will probably be one of my shorter reviews because it’s about 10 different short stories that I’m lumping together and the final one of which I didn’t read because I was burnt out on the “weirdness,” and the novel excerpt, I only skimmed to see if I would be inclined to order it. Full disclosure, too: I once worked with the spouse of the author. Additionally, the book was a free download in a promotion to encourage sales and recognition. All that said, here goes.
I have given the book two stars as an OK book, and considered, unfortunately, giving it only one star. However, when I began reading the stories, I initially liked them, particularly the first few, particularly “No Other Baby Can Do This,” because I liked the way Champoux, who was being the typical new father here, was not taking the trite way out when projecting his fears for his daughter’s future. Rather, he reflected on her future with all the fears we parents encounter but kept her as a pre-toddler in the story with adolescent behaviors, and it was an interesting and creative approach. I found at the end of the story, I wanted more.
There were a couple of other stories within the collection, including “Devil” and “Walker’s Foot” that were weird but intriguing, but after reading them, gradually I became tired of the weirdness that began appearing in the other stories. I might have been better off reading these stories one at a time with long intervals; my mistake may have been in trying to read two or three at the same time and within a week’s time, all of them, so that I became overly saturated with the weirdness.
What I did like was the author’s telling the stories in the first person, which allowed the reader to more clearly understand the perspective and thought processes going on within each story. I also liked his locations of the stories, since they were local to me and I could better relate than some to the influence of the localities, especially, for instance, in “Radio Free Hampshire County.”
As for the novel excerpt, it was intriguing and written well and I would conceivably read the entire novel but at a later date. It felt more real and less strange than the stories in the collection but it was also difficult to tell in what direction it was going. But because I liked the overall style of the author, albeit not necessarily all that “weirdness,” I would be inclined to give him another chance. I wish, in fact, that I had read the novel first, and, as I said, spread out reading the stories over a longer period of time. My bad perhaps.