BROKEN ON THE INSIDE is not only the title, but also the theme of this book. Containing 5 short tales, each featuring a person in distress, I couldn't help but feel for them all.
BROKEN ON THE INSIDE- the title story, starred a woman who's had enough of her mother. So much so that it's making her physically sick. When a doctor tells her he can cure her with nanotechnology she jumps on the chance. But just like her mother said, it wasn't all that easy. (Why are mothers always right? It's enough to drive one crazy.)
DISCOMFORT FOOD This tale is about another young woman, this one working at a fast food burger joint. One night her manager goes a little too far in his harassment of her and she is forced to react. Never again will dinner time be the same.
THE MAN WHO FED THE FOXES is a sad narrative about a lonely man who has let his beautiful garden go to pot. When a group of foxes take up living in his abandoned paradise, he begins to feed them a special diet, and they bring him unusual gifts in return.
THERE WAS AN OLD MAN In this tale John Hinklow is a gentlemen rather obsessed with having swallowed a fly. Rightfully so, it turns out.
VIRTUALLY FAMOUS was a weird little story about a man named Chet who became addicted to a game-The Game. In it, players can opt to be Chet, (the star), , or to be other people in the story-line. But what happens when the main player begins playing himself? In the end it becomes difficult to determine who was the real Chet and which was the Chet in the game. Whether it be gaming or drugs, addictions are dangerous.
These stories were all heavy hitters and combined, make up this powerful narrative as a whole. I enjoyed it as entertaining storytelling on one level, but it also caused me to think deeply about life as we know it and how we go about living that life. Every single person in this book had problems-addictions and obsessions. They were broken on the inside. This led me to thinking about the people I know and even myself. Aren't we all BROKEN ON THE INSIDE in one way or another?
Highly recommended for fans of extremely well written dark fiction!
Get your copy here: BROKEN ON THE INSIDE
*I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*
THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD takes a look at an American family and asks what are you willing to do to protect them? But this book asks that question in an unique way- right before it rips your heart out and stomps all over it!
Eric and Andrew take their daughter Wen on vacation to a remote cabin located on a lake in the woods of New Hampshire. It's been deliberately chosen because it has no cell service, no internet, no nothing. They want to spend this time together, uninterrupted as a family. Unfortunately, their dream vacation came to a screeching halt when a large man named Leonard wandered into their front yard and started talking to Wen. Soon thereafter, three more people join him and together, they all enter the cabin. Things go so downhill from there, it's hard to even talk about. What happens after that? You'll have to read this book to find out!
To give away any more about the plot would be spoilery, so I'm just going to talk about my thoughts and impressions and leave it at that. First, I love the way that Paul Tremblay writes families. He always provides honest insights and observations and as such, these parts of his writing are the ones that appeal to me the most. In this case, I loved 7 year old Wen SO MUCH, I just wanted to pick her up, give her a hug and go help her catch grasshoppers. Eric and Andrew were mysteries at first, but the one thing that soon became obvious about them was their love for Wen.
When things started to go sideways, I was captivated. I had so many questions but I expected and trusted the author to lead me through. Was I right to invest my trust? Yes and no. This is a very slight and "in general" type of spoiler, but just in case:
I suspect that the end of this tale is going to ruffle some feathers, and I have to admit I felt a bit ruffled myself. I don't need everything tied up in a neat little bow, but I wouldn't have minded a few more answers. That aside, I honestly LOVED how it all came together at the end, (or didn't as the case may be, you'll have to read it!) I think it takes a certain amount of courage on the part of the author to end things the way he did and I'm very interested to see how it goes over with other readers.
One other thing did bother me: after the group of strangers entered the cabin, the pacing slowed down a bit and there was a lot of talking without much actual explaining, if that makes any sense. Having chapters from different character's points of view helped me gain a little more insight as to what was going on in their heads, but I thought those portions were a little dragged out and for that, I deducted one star. (And to be honest, this issue is most likely mine, and mine alone.)
THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD is now my favorite among the works of Paul Tremblay. The writing here was powerful and my heart is still healing from the major break it suffered while I was reading this book, and as such: I highly recommend it!
Up for pre-order now HERE and available everywhere on June 26th,2018.
*Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*
What a sad, sad, story. Even while I was listening, I was hoping for a different ending.
Jeff Guinn is an excellent author of true crime. He is somehow able to relate the facts of the story without passing judgement. In this case, I learned a lot. The Peoples Church, (no apostrophe!), did a lot of work in the area of desegregation. Jim Jones and his wife even adopted a black child. In fact, they did a lot of good works together, for the elderly and for the members of their church.
But as so often happens, absolute power corrupts and all that. Jim ran his church with an iron fist. He slept with many partners and somehow made it so that it was okay within his church. He began to do drugs-a lot of drugs. There was corporal punishment for those who did not follow the rules. He began to become paranoid and unbearable to be around, at times.
Follow this to the end that we all knew was coming. I didn't realize how many people were involved in this mass suicide/mass murder, but I know now it was over 900. I say mass murder because children, (children!), were killed by having a syringe full of poisoned flavor-aide shot down their throats. It's one thing when your twisted beliefs cause you to kill yourself, it's another thing entirely to kill infants and children. It's just such a waste of life.
Despite my attempts, I will never understand this mentality. I'm fascinated with it, I admit, but I can't understand it. Perhaps, it's just not understandable? It's certainly not sane.
If you want to learn more about the Peoples Church and Jim Jones, then I highly recommend this book. I listened to it on audio, narrated by George Newbern and he was excellent.
*I downloaded this audio-book from my library for free. Libraries RULE!*
MANCHESTER VICE is a tale about an ordinary man who makes some poor choices. What makes this a unique and fun story is the giddy abandon with which he goes about making these choices, and the fun I had watching his life deteriorate. I'm a terrible person!
But hey, so is Bradley Sharpe, ("just call me Brad"), but he didn't start out that way. He's on the brink of 60, (OLD to Brad), and tired of his boring life. His job as a crime journalist helps support his family, but it's the same old day to day doldrums. He meets with prisoners as a way of making himself feel useful. When he meets with terminally ill Jim, little does he know how much his life is about to change. How will his life change? What are those aforementioned poor choices? You'll have to read this to find out!
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, (perhaps Miami Vice, except set in Manchester?), but what I got was surprising and amusing. First off, it's not that kind of vice. Second, Brad's decline was rapid, willy-nilly, even. He seemed to be blind to his own ineptness, even when he thought was learning from his mistakes. It's easy for the reader to see where he went wrong, but Brad was clueless most of the time. It was fun to see him rolling with the punches, moving from one thing to another, while the whole time still believing that HE'S the good guy.
Entertaining and fast paced, with both outright and dry humor, Jack Strange delivers the goods in this "noirvella" and I had a bloody good time going along for the ride!
You can get your copy here: MANCHESTER VICE
*I received this copy free in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*