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The Mulberry St. Blog is a review and writing blog. I review mostly fiction/science fiction/fantasy sorts of books, with the exception of the occasional YA or nonfiction book. The blog is updated daily, excluding Mondays.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories

Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories

Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories is a short fiction anthology, and let me tell you, I was so excited for this book. I checked it out of the local library, and if it's any indication for how excited I was for it, I immediately went to find its section. Out of a list of 12 wanted books, it was this one that I made a beeline for. I was stoked. As I am currently writing a short fiction anthology, it was this book that I looked forward to reading, to get an insight on short fiction and anthologies. I craved this book in a weird sort of way, and this made it all the more disappointing when I actually read it.

Lauren Groff is a fantastic storyteller. She weaves stories of heartbreak and pain, making your own heart break for the characters within a matter of pages. She's a master at what she does, and it impressed me. However. This is where you learn a little more about me. I'm steadfast in my beliefs. Not even master storytelling can make me waver in what I believe, and that's exactly where this story falls short for me. I'm not one for reading of people's sexual endeavors. In my opinion, that is something that is private and should remain so. Real or fake, I don't feel the necessity to read this in detail, great or minor.

L. DeBard and Aliette is, in all honesty, what killed it for me. [Warning: Spoilers, though I don't believe that spoiling a short story is really a crime, but I digress.] I might have felt for the characters. I might have ached for their love and inability to be together. I might have been a little bit sad when they were broken apart or when Aliette never saw her son again. But the reality is, I didn't. Far too much time was spent being disturbed by the beginning. The story might have been a little bit more compelling had their been fewer - can I say, unecessary - details. Instead, it was, all-in-all, slightly perturbing, and left me with an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Let me just say, as a disclaimer of sorts, that I am not judging the entire anthology based on one piece of it. It's like saying the sandwich tastes bad because I didn't like the crust. My statement is merely this: I can't bear to own a book or a bit of a book that so clearly goes against my beliefs. There are stories in Delicate Edible Birds that I very much enjoyed, but I could not forget L. DeBard and Aliette for fear of its unabashed storytelling popping up again. So, then again, maybe I am judging the book based on one of its stories, but it's hard to only like part of a book. To give another cheesy analogy, its like trying to use a bit of cream cheese after ridding it of the moldy bits. It may be fine, but you just can't forget those moldy bits.

Lauren Groff is, as I said before, an excellent storyteller. I admire her writing and her ability to weave a story. Also, the cover is beautiful. In all, I can't bring myself to give it a lower rating as a book than I have done already. So, I merely settle for being ambivalent about this bit of literature. I probably will not recommend it to friends, and I will content myself with admiring it from afar.

Rating: 4, Could've Been Better 
Recommended For: No-one. Beautiful piece of literature, but not the kind of thing you want lying around your house. It feels a bit more like a guilty sin that a pleasurable read. I still love you as a writer, Lauren Groff!


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