Leanna's Reviews > Willful Creatures

Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
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Aug 15, 11


Well, really I would give this 1.5 stars, as there was two stories I really liked ("End of the Line," about a big man who adopts a little man for a pet, and "Off," which takes the risk of a cruel, unlikeable narrator. Okay, and "Dearth," about a women who has potatoes for children, genuinely moved me). My problem was that the majority of these stories were basically Kooky Premises that, in my opinion, work better as premises than as stories. This was also my problem with Bender's novel "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake." In this collection, I would find the story premise clever but the execution uninteresting. This may be because the premises were just fun ideas that were ultimately hollow, or it may be that Bender simply rarely took the premise beyond cute or whimisical. I will say that there was a curious mixture of whimsical, fairy-tale-like stories in this collection with stories that explored cruelty (cruelty most often located in the narrator). These latter stories tended to be based more in reality. Not sure what to make of that odd combination, but it does speak to a voice that knows its interests. I keep hoping that I will like Bender's stuff, but so far I haven't. I think I can use these stories as a warning for me, as I know that I can fall in love with whimsical conceits in my own writing, whimsical conceits that perhaps only entertain me, and which don't do any real imaginative/emotional/human work!
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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Interesting! I've never read Aimee Bender but I've been wanting to pick up "Lemon Cake." If I do, let's discuss!


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