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And Also Sharks

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  144 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Finalist for the 2012 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

A 2011 Globe and Mail Top 100 book

One of Kobo's Best Ebooks of 2011


The forlornly funny stories in And Also Sharks celebrate the socially awkward, the insecure, the unfulfilled, and the obsessed.

A disgruntled follower of a self-esteem blog posts a rambling critical comment. On the hunt for the perfect coffee table, a pr
Published February 1st 2013 by Cormorant Books (first published March 10th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kelsea Dawn Hume
It’s about time someone wrote some truly modern stories, and Jessica Westhead has done just that. Cat ladies, office drones, and Facebook induced break-ups abound in these believable short stories, which somehow still manage to be zany rather than terribly depressing.


1) You want to find a little humor in the tedium of everyday life.

2) You want to get into the habit of reading short literary fiction, but don’t want to start with something terribly dark.

3) You’re a fan of David Sedaris and
Jeff Bursey
More three and three quarters, really. I like the tonal control Jessica Westhead displays, and wonder what her stories would look like if she let the tartness and occasional sniping from her characters come out more. There are a lot of stories in this collection, perhaps a couple or so that could have been left out, making the book stronger. For those who think canadian short fiction is only the interminably boring Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant, check out _And Also Sharks_.
Jun 03, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome compilation of stories. From hilarious to thought-provoking, Westhead provides a little bit of everything. I loved that although she wrote many in first person (a POV I have trouble reading) I didn't realize it after about two sentences. Very talented writer. I can't wait to read more of her work.

Definitely recommend.
Sep 05, 2011 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every story has notable quotes but some stories seem unevenly paced. Some stories seem unexpectedly to race to the end in a final paragraph with a somewhat dissatisfactory resolution. Highlights include "Todd and Belinda Rivers of 780 Strathcona" and "We are All About Wendy Now."
Apr 25, 2012 Pooker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, canada
Found in my mailbox on April 24 - a birthday surprise from DJO!

May 1, 2012

Okay, so I'm 3/4 of the way through this book of stories and have come to the conclusion that I am a horrible person. I've been snickering, sometimes even laughing out loud, all the way through. It's not that these people are so funny. In fact the poor souls are quite miserable. So why am I laughing? I DON'T KNOW! Hence, my conclusion that I'm just a jerk.

I kind of knew that about myself. Take for instance the time I took
Oct 15, 2016 Nat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story sucked me in but I didn't enjoy the others as much.
Jul 06, 2011 Lexyvs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
If you’ve been by Gin and Rhetoric before, you might know that I have a soft spot for short stories … especially quirky ones, so when I saw Jessica Westhead read from And Also Sharks a few months ago, I knew that I had to read it. And Also Sharks contains 15 short stories, each one telling the story of outsiders, misfits or weirdo’s. People who just don’t quite fit in to the established social norms. People that I like to call ‘socially retarded’. Not bad people, just awkward, uncomfortable peop ...more
Shannon Knight
Nov 21, 2011 Shannon Knight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Auntie Val sent me this book from Canada (incidentally, people who send me books from Canada are always right up there on my top 10 list of favorite people); she met Jessica Westhead at her book club and got it signed for me, thinking I would love the book. And she was so right! These stories are funny and bleak and touching all at once, and sometimes you see your friends or coworkers in the characters, and sometimes you see yourself. I think The Plant Lady was my favorite.
Lindsay Nichols
At first glance, this seemed like a great, quick read for me. I love short story collections. I love weird stories about normal seeming people.

This book did not satisfy my short story loves.

Reading this book started to feel like I was reading for a class assignment. And not even an assignment for a class I particularly enjoy.

Perhaps it was a case of wrong book at the wrong time, but it will make me second guess reading anything else by this author any time soon....
Jayme Holmes
I read this book as part of my participation in a group Bingo, but have decided not to rate it.

This was my first collection of short stories, and I didn't care for it. Is it the genre? The author? The content? I am not sure because it is so different than what I have read before.

The collection is full of eclectic personalities, in various settings. The shortness of the stories just left me wanting more.

Some day I will try again, but for now - back to full length books.
Jennifer Whiteford
Jun 13, 2011 Jennifer Whiteford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I read with Jessica Westhead in 2008 and will be reading with her again later this month, but I would have given this book 5 stars even if I'd never met her. These are wonderful short stories. Funny, current, at times devastating, but always well crafted. Each story is character-driven so the settings become secondary, but still all the scenes are easy to picture. I loved it.
Robin Spano
Aug 26, 2011 Robin Spano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quirky & awesome. Seriously hard to put down. Don't read if you've just had Botox (or some other reason it's harmful to laugh). Jessica understands people's quirks - and communicates them - like a true literary genius.
Ann Douglas
A motley assortment of characters populate the stories in this collection. The stories are as unlike one another as the characters, and yet the narrative voice is steady -- always ironic. Enjoyable, particularly if you like quirky.
John Degen
May 08, 2012 John Degen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have an audio interview with the author coming out in a couple weeks. You will hear my enthusiasm for the book then. See here for Book Room podcasts.
Nov 28, 2013 Loretta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Wonderful, odd, quirky characters, often not sympathetic if one were to step back, but Westhead brings them and their humanity to life. I really enjoyed these.
Carrie Marcotte
Solid set of short stories. Not too complicated but with enough whimsy to make them interesting to read.
Allison Baggio
May 06, 2012 Allison Baggio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart, well-written, tight sharp prose. And funny. Loved it.
Jan 02, 2015 Ricky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
better then shark week
Jul 07, 2012 Dhali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humber-writers
I thought this was a fairly solid collection but after a few days I couldn't remember any of the details...
Angela Misri
Mar 30, 2012 Angela Misri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just met the charming Jessica Westhead last night at the CBC Books Trivia Night, so I'm starting her book with her in mind!
Jerry Levy
Feb 23, 2013 Jerry Levy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jessica can really weave a tale. There's not one story here that I didn't like
Oct 02, 2012 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very skillfully told, compelling stories. A wonderful collection.
Maureen rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2016
Amanda rated it liked it
Apr 07, 2011
Jen rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2014
Lindsey Smith
Lindsey Smith rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2014
Phil Della
Phil Della rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2015
Derek rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2011
Sara rated it it was ok
Dec 13, 2011
Matthew rated it really liked it
May 18, 2016
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JESSICA WESTHEAD is a Toronto writer and editor, and one of the short-story-loving masterminds behind YOSS (Year of the Short Story). Her fiction has appeared in major literary journals in Canada and the United States, including Geist, The New Quarterly, and Indiana Review. Her novel Pulpy & Midge was published in 2007 by Coach House Books. Her short story collection And Also Sharks, published ...more
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