Elena's Reviews > Stranger Things Happen

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
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Aug 02, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, short-stories, adult, its-not-you-its-me, reviewed
Read in August, 2011

2.5 stars. I was tempted to give this three stars, because a lot of my reaction wasn't that these stories were bad, just that they weren't for me. But boy, were they not for me.

My first exposure to Kelly Link's writing was through her YA collection Pretty Monsters: Stories. I loved it. "Magic for Beginners" is still one of my all-time favorite stories. So I was excited to read her two adult collections, this and Magic for Beginners. I started with this, her earlier collection, and proceeded to be extremely disappointed.

For the most part, these stories reminded me unpleasantly of my least favorite literature classes in college, the ones where all the pretentious English majors would say things like, "I loved how the diamond motif perfectly reflected the unyielding nature of the protagonist's attitude toward motherhood," and I would be all, "Uhh, I liked the bit with the dog. It was funny and sad at the same time, which is, you know, cool." Which is to say, these stories weren't fun to read. They were work, full of clever symbolism and literary styling, but not entertaining. And most of the time I felt like the stories were going right over my head, which is a pretty depressing reading experience.

There were a few stories I thought were okay, and one, "Vanishing Act," that I really liked a lot, but overall, I'll leave this one to the pretentious English majors.

This collection can be downloaded for free from the publisher's website here.
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Reading Progress

07/22/2011 page 120
45.0% "So far this collection has been more miss than hit for me, which is sad, because I loved her YA collection."
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Jess I realize you wrote this a couple of years ago, but if you haven't give Magic for Beginners a chance yet, please do so. I found this to be a pretty disappointing and uneven collection, overall. But Magic for Beginners is stellar. Somewhere between these two collections I think she developed a much better sense of how to turn these dreamlike, atmospheric vignettes into actual stories. I haven't read Pretty Monsters yet, but I hope it gives you a good indication that Kelly Link is capable of more than this collection showcases.


Elena It's still gathering dust on my bookshelf, I'm afraid! Thanks for commenting though--I'll try to bump it up. I'll know I'll get to it eventually--like I mentioned, "Magic for Beginners" is one of my favorite short stories. It still sticks with me, so I'm sure I'll pick up the collection at some point if only to reread that story (since I don't own Pretty Monsters).


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth This review pretty much sums up how I felt about "Magic for Beginners" (the anthology) Some standouts which have really stayed with me, but mostly pretentious and over my head (and I was TOTALLY an English major!) I might give Pretty Monsters a turn. .


Elena Pretty Monsters is good! Can't have the pretentious and impenetrable stories in an anthology for teenagers, so all that was left over were the decent ones. ;)


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