Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review - Dry Stories

Happy Hump-day, everyone! It's the middle of the week and just two more days to go until the weekend. I've been writing my little fingers off on a WIP I think you'll all be super excited for. More on that later. Today is book review day! I've written a review for this author before, and I adored Love From Planet Wine Cooler. You can see that review here. If you haven't joined the 2015 Review Team, come on over and get involved! Just grab the badge, put a post on your blog with the badge and a little note about you joining, and come add the post to the linky thing on this page. No rules! Just books. All the books! Anyway, grab a cup of coffee and let's get going.

All about the book up for review today:

Title: Dry Stories
Author: Kate Baggott
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length (print): About 82 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $3.56

Synopsis:

When I called you each morning, while it was late night to you, my body thought it was night too. Our energy levels and rhythms were the same. I could feel it over the phone, across time zones and oceans. I felt like I was still at home combing nits out of your hair and helping your brother and your cousin edge you toward a new life, a better way of life without booze. Then, one more day passed and I got enough sunshine and enough fresh air for my body to adjust. I was back in this place, I had a new rhythm of family life and work and the ways of this adopted country.

“How can I do this?” I thought. “How can I fit this responsibility in too?”

Disguised as letters to a friend in need, “Dry Stories” delves into the psyche of the main character, revealing her passions, her fears, her needs, and her desires. Separated from her home country while living abroad with her husband and children, she struggles to conform to foreign traditions, accept local customs, and maintain her identity.

This literary compilation of short stories can be read as stand-alone pieces, or sequentially in a compelling novella. Each story is a letter written to a friend recovering from alcoholism and resonates with the truth of what it is to be human in a naturally disconnected world.

On to the review!

I snagged a sample of this book during the 12 Days of Review Requests event on my blog when the author pitched her story to me. I've read Kate's work before and loved it; I knew this book would be on par as far as quality of writing. I was happy to find it was, and went on to buy the book. I was so invested in the story, I read it in one sitting. But, let's get to the good stuff.

From a Reader's Perspective:
I found the story (or collection of stories) to be touching and soul-searching on a whole new level. I've never dealt directly with an alcoholic, but I've seen enough movies and met enough recovering ones to be a little familiar with the process of drying out. What the author brings to the table in this book feels personal and raw. She drags you down into the quagmire with the main character, showing you what it's like to feel responsibility toward someone you know who's struggling. Even if it isn't your place to be the rock in that person's life, your heart tells you not to give up. I was pulled by the compassion and humanity on the pages, even as I felt for the main character and her struggles with her own demons. Everything flowed well, though I would like to have seen a bit more of the story. It felt as though it ended rather abruptly. Though I wouldn't discourage you from reading it based on that alone. What you get is a heart-wrenching tale of two people who struggled in similar ways, but dealt with it very differently. You realize they're bonded on a much deeper level, and for one to fall would be the demise of both.

From an Editor's Perspective:
Very nicely done.

Rating:
1 Star for excellent flow
1 Star for showing me the true horrors of dealing with an alcoholic
1 Star for making me feel the connection between the main character and her friend
.5 Star for keeping me interested enough to keep reading
-.5 Star for the abrupt ending that left me a little hungry for more
1 Star for stellar editing
Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars. But, I round up! So, this book gets 5. Recommended for those who like writing on a deeper level. A story with heart instead of fluff.

What do you think? Have you read Baggott's work? Gonna pick this one up?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

5 comments:

  1. I tend to not like 'letter' or 'diary' stories . . . they just don't hold my short attention span. Glad you liked it though :-)

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    1. It reads like one cohesive novel :) These had a super powerful message. I couldn't put it down.

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful review Jo. The book isn't really a "letter" or "diary" story in the traditional sense though, Jamie. I hope you'll take a "look inside." You might be surprised http://www.amazon.ca/Dry-Stories-Kate-Baggott-ebook/dp/B00LZXMS1K/

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    1. You're welcome, Kate! I do hope people take a look inside. After all, there's no risk in that ;) I do hope you continue to write and put your life on a page for me to read. It's so touching.

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    2. My life is not as exciting as the lives my characters leave. I spend a lot of time in offices, which is exactly as boring as it sounds! Thank goodness for imagination.

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