jess's Reviews > You Must Be This Happy to Enter

You Must Be This Happy to Enter by Elizabeth Crane
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Dec 31, 08

bookshelves: 2008, fiction
Read in December, 2008

I picked this up so I'd have some short stories to round out my 2008 reading list. It is adorable and dear in that This American Life sort of way (from WBEZ Chicago) and annoying and irrelevant in the same sort of way. There are moments I laughed & cheered - stories that overuse exclamation points, a woman turned into a zombie at the Jo-Anns Fabric Store, many reality tv show and internet references - including Livejournal's prominent role in one story. There were some drippy, dull, extra-earnest moments that I cringed.

This is the kind of book that proves that it is easier to write about misery, sorry, malaise, dread, and general unhappiness than to attempt narratives from optimists and happy people. The contentedness of happy people is such a singular, isolated experience that it seems contrived to form it into a short story.

I think the book is front-loaded with some of the better stories, but many collections like this are. Overall, the collection is a little cutesy, but not painfully so. And the final mark of my impression -- I mentioned some of these stories in conversation several times, which can be tough with unknown collections of short stories. It's not my fault I liked the most sci-fi story best (Clearview).
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