ISBN #: 978-0670026043
Page Count: 224
Copyright: January 30, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st Edition
(Taken from Amazon)
From a truly distinctive voice brimming with wicked humor, tales of the little disasters that befall and befuddle us.
April Wilder’s characters (some normal, some less so) have this in common: they are spiraling (or inching) toward self-destruction. An almost poetic range of disasters are sought out and savored in This Is Not an Accident, from bad romance to iffy adoption decisions to unsteady liaisons with animals and dolls; from compulsive driving to compulsive written correspondence with oneself.
A house sitter hides among poets in Salt Lake City after his canine charge dies tragically. A grandma’s boyfriend holds a backyard barbecue under siege—with the kids as his pint-sized guards. The world of these slightly off-center individuals is similarly off by a few degrees. But by the end, we realize it’s not as far off as we would like to think: this is modern American life. What Wilder captures is not a dark side, but rather the side we all know well and hide from others, and ourselves. In the tradition of Wells Tower and Jim Shepard, This Is Not an Accident signals a bold new voice and delivers the kind of insanely incisive moments only a master of the human condition can conjure.
Reviewing a collection of stories can be somewhat difficult, as many of you are aware. So, what I'll attempt to do instead is review the feel of the collection as a whole.
On the bright side, the cover is fun, whimsical, playful, and represents several of the stories inside. Let me clarify ... the cover represents the stories as in what happened, but not the emotion of them. Every story ... EVERY story ... left me with a 'WTF' feeling. There were a couple that, once I finished reading them, I'd have to mark my place, shut the book, and shake my head. Although, with this book being based on modern American life, is it really as far off from reality as I think it is? I would like to think it isn't based on real life. I cannot picture a cartoonist purposefully trying to get into a car accident just so she knows what it's like. I cannot imagine a man and woman kissing a roasting pig as their way of apologizing to each other. I could go on, but I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that I find this fiction novel more unrealistic than other fictional novels I've read.
If you enjoy reading quirky, unusual, somewhat true-to-life stories, then this book would be for you.
*A hardcopy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.