I received a physical copy of this book from the author (a personally signed copy!) in exchange for an honest review.
This book is one in a million... though, that means there are 7400 more of these out there... *wink*
I was surprised with this book. It definitely hit me harder than I thought it would and I appreciated it more than I ever anticipated.
Two Hundred Very Short Stories is basically what it says on the tin; a collection of two hundred short stories... It has been exactly what I needed over the past week or so as I've been storming through my exams and haven't had all the time in the world to immerse myself in a full length novel.
This collection of stories beautifully portrays life, I think. It passes over a wide range of ages, classes, ethnicities... it's just a huge celebration of life, almost, and I really appreciated the feeling and essence of life weaved throughout.
When reading these stories, I annotated the book as I read. I liked being about to track down my thought-process and reactions to the stories- it's a nice way to read along a book like this.
I wasn't expecting these stories to be as funny as they were. They were short, witty and clever. I laughed my head off at some of them because they just contained the kind of humour that I find hilarious.
But they're also super clever and deep. I'd start reading one and instantly I'd have my perspective about what the story was about. And yet, reading the last line changes everything. I loved how a certain line or word changed the whole context of the story and altered my interpretation completely. It made me re-read many of the stories just to be able to look at them at a different angle.
some of these stories had so much depth to them that I just had to put the book down and think about them for a while. It's hard for writers who write full length novels to create a genuine audience reaction, let alone a writer who's only writing a single paragraph of prose! And yet, Helen still
manages to create an impactful audience reaction in every word.
I think I liked the shorter stories the best but, in a collection like this, you're always going to prefer some more than others.
These stories reminded me a bit of the Tales of the Unexpected just because of how surprising a lot of them were! Each story had an unexpected ending or a nice little punchline to tie things up.
SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD
One of my favourite characters- even though there were many of them, was Chai. I loved the kid! He was blunt, nerdy and when he kept popping up in multiple stories, I got a massive grin on my face!
I also loved the recurring Ted and Patrick. I loved that we followed their adult lives in snippets throughout the book and got to see them become friends and create happy lives for themselves.
My favourite deeper story was number 4 just because I love the edge of personification that you don't even realise until you read the last line and everything makes sense. It's the one about the seasons. I immediately assumed that previous relationships was the subject, but after finishing the story, the parallels to seasons gave me an inevitable 'duh' moment and I proceeded to re-read that story again and again.
I loved the little joke stories because I love humorous books and some of these jokes just got to me!
Story number 197 was such a genius idea (the mirror words one) but it was so hard to read! I felt like I was learning to read all over again but it was quite fun to try and decipher.
I'm also desperate to know what the binary code story 194 means... I have a friend that does computer science and she knows a bit about binary codes so I'll have to try and see if she can get anything from it. The urge to know what it means is strong!
The last story was perfect for me. It was like a little code or treasure hunt that I had to sort out and I loved that aspect.
Here are some of favourite story numbers (I split them into two groups and everything):
Meaningful: 4, 84, 169 and 200
Funny: 28, 35, 37, 42, 47, 56, 75, 101, 179, 199
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment your thoughts! Stay amazing!