Author: David Wallace Fleming
Rating: 3/5 nuts
Source: NetGalley Read Now
All hail the return of book reviews!
With and Without Class is a collection of 14 short stories. I won’t say that I’m really a short story person, but there was a time when this book was available on a Goodreads giveaway and I entered it, because for some reason it spoke to me. I don’t know exactly why, but for some reason I was interested. Of course, I didn’t win the giveaway. 😦 Haha. But, when I joined NetGalley, I found With and Without Class available in its Read Now category, where you don’t need to wait for the publisher’s approval, so I decided to download it. I mean, I had felt some interest in the book and I could get it. So, why not?
Overall, the collection was okay. I can’t say I loved it, but it had some stories that I liked, while some really dragged for me.When I started reading it, I held open a text editor for notes, so, for the first couple of short stories, I have noted down some impressions that I’ll just copy here unedited in quote marks.
My notes on the first story, An Anniversary Concession, were “kinda meh”, so I guess that wasn’t one of those I liked 😀 Oh, right, I think it was about the policeman. Yeah, nothing really gripped me at that one.
The Heat – on this one, I’ve noted down “weird, interesting, wouldn’t mind getting to know more about the world there”. Mmm. Oh, right, I think this one was a weird one. One of those that are pretty much ‘huh, what?’ at the beginning, but then you start getting to grips with it, but then it ends and you are left with the need to know and understand more.
A Blind Date for Bonkers – “oh, wow, what the heck. Bonking is sooo weird, the half-nonsense the Bonkers are bonking is just… bonkers 😀 butter my toast, lol” – so this one was weird, obviously. But I kind of liked it, because it was a bit hard to grasp, but quite fun at the same time. I mean, it was pretty bonkers 😀
Zombie Clown Western – “gotta love the town names, especially Whisky Whisky Whisky, or Help! Can’t Feel My Toes None, Whisky. Actually kinda fun story.” – I don’t even know what more to say. The town names really cracked me up.
Perfection of the Mind – “interesting. Would like to read more.” – not sure what happened in this one. No, wait, I think I do remember. There was something about a psychiatrist-robot (or android?) and her patient who needed her help so he kind of messed with her programming by talking about… the meaning of life or something? Apparently, the glimpses in that world were interesting enough for me to wish for a greater look into it.
The Magic-Fiver – “hilarious” – aw, yes. The alien grandpa with his special alien money. It was weird, as most of the stories, but it was fun.
And then I have no more notes on other stories. For the one I liked the most, I had even highlighted some lines in it, but my time on the book ran out (you get the books for 30+ days, sort of like you’ve taken them from the library, except that I’ve never had e-books in/from the library, I don’t even know if there is such a service in Latvia). So I lost the highlighted passages. But I remember something really struck me about them.
They were from a story about a couple who wants to get a divorce. But the thing is, they live in Heaven/Paradise, therefore divorce is kind of tricky thing. You don’t divide your belongings etc., you divide the ideas, memories from your life together. So they go over what ideas each of them will keep, e.g., she keeps the memories of one of their homes, and he of the other. Then they try out, how it will be, they don’t entirely like it, but they see no other option. I guess I can’t tell more or it’ll spoil the ending. But I really liked the idea, thought of that story. At least the idea I saw there. And the ending also fit and reflected the idea that I saw there. Too bad I lost my highlighted passage. It was nice 😀
I think that was the story that stuck out most to me. Some were also interesting, as can be seen from the notes on the first few, but I stopped noting down my thoughts on each story for some reason, so can’t tell anything more on each separate story.
But there was a bit more that I had noted down on the overall impression I got from the short stories: “hard to grasp the plot, the meanings etc at the first moments when starting each story. It’s not bad, just unusual”. Most of the stories happened each in a different world, therefore each of them required some getting used to, and that wasn’t easy, since there wasn’t much time and space for that, given that they are short stories. It’s not really a negative thing, but I didn’t particularly like it either. But that is more my problem, I guess short stories aren’t really my favourites cup of tea. Though sometimes they can be enjoyed.
Therefore, taking into account the fact that some stories sort of bored me, while others were really enjoyable, I give this short story collection 3 nuts. It’s not something that really wowed me. I’m not planning to reread it or anything. But I did really enjoy some of the stories, and the worlds in each of the stories were unique and quite interesting (even though some I didn’t enjoy). I mean, overall, I did like it.
Definitely give this one a shot if you like short stories or some whacky fun stuff sprinkled with weirdness and some nice ideas.
Do you read/like short stories? Have you read this particular collection?