So….this is one where it is “shame on me” for not reading the synopsis more closely. I saw only “short stories” pitched and immediately jumped on board and accepted a copy. I failed to examine the synopsis and/or detailed description of this collection more closely and unfortunately, the stories ended up not being well suited to my taste, at all.
I read the first two in the order they appeared: Shelter and Something Will Grow.
With Shelter being the introductory story into this collection I knew I might be running into some trouble here. I found it crude and more about trying to push an agenda about the central character’s sexuality that didn’t seem to fit with the story (two girls go to a homeless shelter to see “why the hell do people live in homeless shelters anyway?”). I found it underdeveloped as a whole. Immediately moving on, I started, Something Will Grow. Again, I felt it was confusing, a little bit of “all over the map” and crudeness thrown in throughout that to me really took away from the potential I saw peeking out. The liberal tossing in of the coarse content ruined what I felt could have been the telling of a sad and emotional story.
At this point I put it down, thinking taking a break might help to put me in a different mindset to go back to the rest of the stories. I definitely wasn’t in tune with the content up to this point. Here was where I pondered the title more closely. “Unaccompanied Minors“. Okay- these were going to be about youth and based on the two first stories about their behaviours, unsavoury as they may be? Those that aren’t “behaving” in the mainstream way, right? Going back to examine the synopsis, the first sentence reads:
“Taut and fearless, mixing innocence with daring honesty, the stories in Unaccompanied Minors overturn our understanding of what it means to be young.”
I went back to the collection, this time starting to read the final story, Flee. Here, I gave up. A rambling story with no context or understanding of what was happening, what was the story? What was the purpose? Again, I would have to simply say it felt more of a push to excessively relay the protagonist is a lesbian. The first time this is mentioned is fine. I.Got.It. Okay. Alright. But to insert it in again, and again, and again was so very annoying and I felt it completely took away from its potential.
Here was where I told myself, I’m not continuing, I cannot read anymore, especially if the stories are only going to hold the same meandering, undeveloped and (to my palate) crude content. Then I thought, well, that isn’t really fair, I should finish this collection. Let’s give this a try here. There are only seven stories, and I’ve read only three. So I opened again, and started to skim (let’s be honest here) Sin Alley. I saw words like “hand jobs”, “velvet couches”, “oral sex” “grassy semen smells”, “sissy faggot” and just put it away. This time for certain.
Sorry, this is simply not the material I enjoy reading. It’s not to my taste, but this is absolutely not to say this is a poorly written collection. I did find tiny pockets where I saw potential, but the content is simply not to my personal liking. With the remaining stories entitled, “Thirty Seconds” and “Heathens” I knew I wasn’t going to find anything more there that would change my mind.
This is a case where I would say in this relationship, “Really, it’s not you, it’s all me”. :-(
Unaccompanied Minors was sent to us by BookSavvy PR in exchange for a review. Unfortunately, this was just not the right fit for me, sorry.