Wednesday, January 19, 2011


School has started again and thus I am failing in the whole reading and having a life thing. As one of my friends said, "junk breeds." It's true. I came back to a messy room and quickly made it much messier. Then in my attempts to clean it just got worse. It is a truly terrifying cycle.

In any case, before returning to the Mawr, I managed to finish All Points North by Shelby R. Lee III. It was one of the books sent to me for review and I finally got to it.

[From the back of the book]

Sometimes comical, always moving, and often starkly painful, the stories in this unique collection share one overriding similarity: an extraordinary ability to reveal the deep psychological complexities of the human experience. In All Points North, author Shelby Lee targets the unseen mental landscape that informs our daily lives. Here are 13 short stories that trace the roots of grief, anger, psychological torment and sorrow, and shine in a much needed light on our seemingly unexplainable behavior and attitudes.

So here we go:

This book did not live up to my expectations. Yes, these stories incorporate some aspect of psychological complexity, but in hackneyed and downright trite ways. This collection felt repetitive — as if it were a novel that kept forgetting its own plot, but remembered the key phrases. Narratives were rambling and seemed to lead nowhere. I'm willing to be confused for parts of a story, but there needs to be a pay-off at some point, and All Points North fails to deliver.
Maybe I'm harsh, but I expected much more from this book. There were bright moments — moments of clarity and poetic insight, but overall I am left perplexed and dissatisfied.

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