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This Is Not an Accident: Stories

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
From a truly distinctive voice brimming with wicked humor, tales of the little disasters that befall and befuddle us

April Wilder’s characters (some normal, some less so) have this in common: they are spiraling (or inching) toward self-destruction. An almost poetic range of disasters are sought out and savored in This Is Not an Accident, from bad romance to iffy adoption de
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 30th 2014 by Viking
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Anya I like it. It's funny in places and all around thoughtful. It's been a good read.

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For fifteen miles they nosed along with mosquitoes pouring out of the sky, the stream steady and meaty and thick. Then, near the end of the swarm, the mosquitoes---the fattened calves hanging back---started spilling motherfucking blood. Russ jerked flat against his seat when the heavy ones hit, and it was real blood, whatever or whomever they'd sucked it out of, so it was like the windshield was a living thing being shot up with machine-gun fire, with Russ and Eckhart watching from inside. When ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I've sat down to read a book of short stories, preferring to envelope myself in the unfolding plot of a mystery or thriller.

I'd forgotten how satisfying it is to read descriptions that paint pictures in your head, without any regard to moving the plot along.

Like this passage from "We Were Champions:"

"The barbecue was a mean piece of hardware--a steel barrel sawed in half with posts and prongs and a crank welded to the sides. It was the work of a country boy consigned
Jess Stoner
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The stories in April Wilder’s debut collection inhabit, in her words, “the territory of the American absurd,” and each first page is like the edge of a cliff. A story might begin, say, in a defensive driving class or in a kitchen with the grandchildren, and then it careens off, suspending the reader in that place where falling feels like flying. Take “Creative Writer Instructor Evaluation Form,” the way it subverts and surprises, the stakes growing ever more urgent, calling attention to the hyst ...more
Donna Huber
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
Some of the stories were kind of strange. Not really your feel good kind of stories, but ones that make you think. Read my full review at Girl Who Reads.
Debbie "DJ"
Jan 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
I won this copy on first reads for an honest review.

I guess everyone has a different sense of humor. I forced myself to finish the first story in this book. It was crazy beyond what I could handle. If you are in the mood for a read unlike any other you might enjoy this. I just couldn't go on.
Virgowriter (Brad Windhauser)
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Atypical characters experiencing situations many would care to admit they can relate to. Nice tone to the voices. Funny in spots. Interestingly untidy in places.
Stacey Avis
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Don't care for short stories. To me they seem rushed or not well developed.

Reading challenge- short stories

Collections of short stories are often variations on a common theme, and in This Is Not an Accident April Wilder seems to have chosen the theme of chaos, disaster, their effects on relationships, and maintaining a sense of purpose through it all. Let's examine that theory shall we? In "This is not an accident" (the short story, not the collection), Kat is enrolled in a remedial driver's training course for adults d/t her apparent inability to control and/or maintain her vehicle at a safe speed

Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
…I felt achy the rest of the day – the ache that comes with the helplessness of endings, any ending.

This is Not an Accident
by April Wilder
224 pages, Viking Adult, January 2014
Short Stories

I was never much of a short-story person. I like meatier things. I like to know more about characters, and I like to know their whole story, not just a snippet that a short story gives you.

I have, however, been very lucky with short story collections lately. Either authors are stepping up their games or I’m ge
Jan 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I received a copy of This Is Not an Accident from Goodreads First Reads.

I don’t understand this book. I went into this book knowing that the characters were going to be weird, but I overestimated my weirdness tolerance. This Is Not an Accident is a creative spin on reality, OR a realistic look at the lives we live, depending on how well you can relate to the characters. I couldn’t relate to the characters at all, and to me, Wilder’s characters and storylines seem to teeter between insanity and,
Madison Calhoun
Okay, to start this off, I won this book from the GoodReads giveaways. So, thank you! I love to read new books, just as they're coming out. At first, I was intrigued by this book. I knew beforehand that it was going to be very weird and a little out there. Generally, I love strange, alternative novels. I'm all for anything creepy or dark. Wicked humor usually makes me laugh, so I assumed that I was the perfect audience to read This is Not an Accident.

Unfortunately, however, this book just wasn't
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is Not an Accident by April Wilder is a pretty great collection of short stories. When I read the third story, "We Were Champions", I felt like I had found a new very best friend. "We Were Champions" is the story of a girl, living in the City of Wrigleyville, State of Chicago, having a pig roast during a Cubs game that she could hear but not see. She had recently learned that her high school softball coach, who had gone to jail for molesting most of the team, had killed himself. Meanwhile, ...more
Donna Davis
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's sick. It's wrong. It's twisted. It's very, very funny!

Thank you to Random House and the Goodreads First Read program for the opportunity to read this free of cost.

If you took Jenny Lawson (2 parts), Garrison Keillor (1 part) and a pint of bitters, and shook vigorously, this is the sense of humor which might be the outcome. It's wry, edgy, and very dark. You can see from the divergence of the ratings and reviews that this is controversial (courageous, even) work. It's not political humor, t
Jill Botkin
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads first reads. This was not my favorite book and was really hard for me to read all the way through. I was definitely expecting something else. The description said "from a truly distinctive voice brimming with wicked humor, tales of the little disasters that befall and befuddle us". That was the book I thought I was reading. This book is a bunch of short stories about horribly depressing people. None of them are befuddling little disasters - they are all characters ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I love short stories, even—sometimes especially—when they truck in the familiar, the comforting, the well-worn. But there's always the little voice in the back of my mind clamoring to be told something new, or something old in a new way. And these are those stories, without a doubt. This is a challenging and complicated collection, not a quick read. And while the voice is wickedly clever and the humor dark, the tone is never smart-assy or show-offy. Wilder cares about these characters, no m ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is Not an Accident is a very interesting collection of short stories. When it comes to the main characters, this collection has a whole range of crazy. All of them in each story are on the brink of some type of self-destruction, whether it is compulsively driving hundreds of miles a day or the reaction to an admission of an inappropriate relationship with a softball coach. Personally, my favorite piece from the collection is "Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form" because it had so ma ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is one of the few books I actually put down, and never picked up again. The first story was confusing and they led quite weird lives. I couldn't wrap my head around it. The second story was no better, because I felt that the main character was a jerk so I couldn't exactly feel sorry for his situation. After those two chapters, I just couldn't waste my time on the book anymore. Maybe one day I will pick it back up and finish it all, but as of right now, it's simply not good.

**However, I did
Holly Jolly
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book free through First-Reads giveaways.

As a general rule I like things that are considered weird or alternative; however, this was really hard to read. It was difficult to understand, especially the first 2 stories. The last story seemed to have the most potential and I found the most interesting. There were pieces that were funny and some small areas that were entertaining, but these were too small of excerpts to bring my rating up. Even short stories have some sort of ending
Feb 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

This was not what I expected. I'm so sorry, but I couldn't get through it. I was just...ugh! I felt too bored to get through everything and I didn't really connect. There wasn't anything for me to feel with these characters. No spark or feeling of connection.

It was like these characters were strangers. Most character to me are family and extended family...especially Harry Potter. He was like an older brother to me. A wizard fictional older brother. But the
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
***I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Throughout each story in this book I wavered on my eventual rating. It was hit or miss, leaning towards the hit side of things due to the great amount of detail and vividness put into each tale, whether or not I enjoyed or related to the actual content.

First off, these stories are weird. Secondly, they're WEIRD, I tell you!

Have an open mind, maybe a little quirk here and there for good measure and you will find this book at least somewhat en
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While there is humor found in most of the stories in this collection, the feeling that was left after reading each one more resembled despair. April Wilder's characters are all facing some type of crisis, whether real or imagined, and none seem to be winning. It is easy to be able to relate to some of the characters, but it wasn't something I necessarily wanted to be able to do, since all seem to be headed for a break down at the least. These stories are dark and show some of the depressing side ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
it was nice straying away from my topical novels to read a collection of short stories. all of the stories in this book depict various degrees of dysfunctional lives. a couple of them I had I had trouble staying interested in. my favorite was "it's a long dang life" in which a grandma's boyfriend holds her grandkids hostage in the family tree house in order to get her to talk to him.

I did win this book in a goodreads giveaway and overall i'm glad I did!
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
If you are looking for short stories that submerge you completely into someone's head without first introducing you to the environment, or even the physical person, this is the book for you!

Characters were skillfully built around intimate and sometimes unexplainable actions. Environments came as snapshots from what characters were seeing.

My hope is that if there are really that many people wandering around who are so dysfunctional and dark, I don't want to know about it.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
I won an advance uncorrected proof of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Whenever I read a book of short stories, I always find that I like some of the stories more than I do others. This book was no exception. The story "Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form" made me laugh out loud. However, the other short stories and the novella were full of creepy-crawly characters that made me shudder.

Fans of Tama Janowitz and Joyce Carol Oates would like this book.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I won this book on Goodreads. It is a series of short stories. From the first story I was confused and frankly disappointed. It does say it is stories of failures and people having difficulty coping with life in general. This is true. It has a very nice style and is keenly descriptive however the stories themselves were just not for me.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I can see why people would like this book--the dark humor works very well for those who appreciate it. For me, once I realized that everyone was bad-neuroitc and doomed to remain so, it just smacked a little too much of high school and I found myself unwilling to continue. Best audience bet: hipsters and lovers of very dark humor.
Michelle Despres
Apr 14, 2014 marked it as gave-up
Read the first two stories, and found them a bit boring. I wasn't put off by the strangeness; I'm just not compelled to keep reading. Decided to spend my time reading something I would enjoy more.

Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I thought this book was a little bit devastating, but a lot of bit real. Thanks, Penguin. This was one I gave four stars because I can't give it five, but it's not really three either. It's a solid 3.7 which rounds up. Review up on the blog on Friday.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Genuinely funny. Really funny. It's been a long time since I read something that made me laugh consistently. Some really endearing characters. It would be nice to read more from this author. I'd like to see a novel, but these stories were so cute.
Debbie Carnes
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are so full of life and you could believe that some of these stories are tru.
Some of us might even know people like some in the stories.

I look forward to reading more by April Wilder and highly recommend reading : This Is Not an accident :Stories
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April Wilder grew up mainly in California. She holds a BS in math from UCLA, an MFA in fiction from U-Montana, a PhD in literature/creative writing from U-Utah, and is a former fiction fellow from U-Wisconsin's Institute for Creative Writing. She is the author of THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT, a collection of stories that explores the territory of the American absurd--and various other manuscripts that ...more
More about April Wilder...