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Don't Try This at Home

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A girl repeatedly chops her boyfriend in half but, while her “other half” multiplies, she is still not satisfied. Love transforms a mother working down the fish and chip shop – into Elvis. Clary’s father puts antlers on stuffed rabbits to make jackalopes, but when her mother walks out on them, Clary has to help her father if they are to survive.

Beautiful, sharp and fearles
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by And Other Stories (first published May 5th 2015)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  329 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pub-2015
I used to subscribe to ‘And Other Stories’ and every few months a package would arrive with a new book. I would open it and do what I did with all the other hundreds of books I bought – I would put it on the shelf so that it can patiently wait for its time to come.

I would, of course, obediently flip through it before shelving it. I owe the book that much.
So when ‘Don’t Try This At Home’ arrived I opened it on the first page and read
“I cut my boyfriend in half; it was what we both wanted.” I tho
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am not usually one for short stories, but this is something else. This collection has everything, from cute and quirky tales to some very dark and disturbing ones. A great range, with characters I was left wanting to know more about and some really great ideas. A fantastic collection.
Holly Dunn
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This collection was a bit hit and miss. I loved the first story about a woman who cuts her boyfriend in half, and in half again, and again, until they start to live their own individual lives. However, the rest of the stories were a little ho-hum. There were a few others that caught my attention, but sadly nothing lived up to that first one, which I think was a shame. It has some great magical realism elements though, and there are definitely stories in here that are creative, interesting, and w ...more
Wye Peng
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I enjoyed every story in this collection! I was on the fence about picking it up but I'm so glad that I did. A great collection.

Don't try this at home is about a woman who multiplies her boyfriend by splitting him up with a spade. 5/5

Conceptual is about a dysfunctional family. 4/5

Surviving sainthood is about a boy who has a "miracle" sister. 5/5

There's a woman works down the chip shop tells us of a woman who is transformed by love into Elvis. 5/5

Birds without wings is about a mother and dau
Gardenia Plant
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastical, imaginative and superbly written, this is a genius collection of short stories.
Loved it and didn't want it to end.
I look forward to much more from this talented author.
Claudia Piña
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: barrilibros
En serio, no lo intenten en casa.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought this was a passably interesting book of short stories. They mostly belong to that category of modest surrealism-- so in the first story, a woman cuts her husband in half and in half again so they can get more out of his labor, etc. Other stories are less explicitly magically realistic-- so a story like "The Keeper of the Jackalopes" has a character who taxidermies jackalopes for sale, but it's never really implied the jackalopes are real, just the creations of his art. But generally, t ...more
Chris Davies
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an utterly brilliant collection of short stories. These tales are clever, strange (in a good way), thought provoking and pack an emotional punch. Best of all, they are superbly written and, unusually for a short story collection, there is not a duff one amongst them.

What more is there to say other than read this book now! It's quite short and I expect some people could polish it off in an afternoon, but you'll want to savour every exquisitely turned phrase. Easily the best book I've rea
Shirley Golden
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite short story collections of all time! These surreal stories work so well because they never lose their sense of emotional reality - a woman chops up her boyfriend (to multiply their time together), a mother transforms into Elvis, a girl inherits magic perfumes, another meets her older self, but reality is at the heart of each story. And I very much cared about each character. Readman weaves her own spell with her exceptional use of language, and for this reason alone, ...more
Helen McClory
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Stories tell you something, then tell it again in a slightly different way, then again just in case. Stories that don't seem to trust the reader to make out the message. Stories with a message that is so simple it might as well be written with a motto on the end. Stories where the POV is confusingly located, disrupted by lines that glitter and would not come out of the minds of children - obviously writerly-lines set there because they look good. Not for me.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I am not usually one for short stories, but this is something else.
This collection has everything, from cute and quirky tales to some very dark and disturbing ones.
A great range, with characters I was left wanting to know more about and some really great ideas. A fantastic collection.

Dan Coxon
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had high expectations for Angela Readman's debut collection, and I wasn't disappointed. This is a bold, colourful and exciting selection of short stories, including the stunning Costa winner 'The Keeper of the Jackalopes'. Other highlights included 'When We Were Witches' and 'There's a Woman Works Down the Chip Shop', but there's not a duff note in here. One to revisit with a pencil.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was a great collection of short stories. They took place in that place that is halfway between our world and a magical world. They were dark, twisted, and emotive. I'm not well-versed in short stories at all, but I really enjoyed this.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
The first story was wonderful and really made me engage with ideas of self and identity. The other stories were alright, some I enjoyed and others I had to force myself to finish but we're thankfully short.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
[3.5 stars]
Alice Lippart
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dark, whimsical and grounded. A very good collection.
toria (vikz writes)

A couple of blog posts ago, I reviewed Fables, a work published by Pigeonhole books. Since I liked that work, they emailed me asking if I would like to see more of their output. I chose to look at two works. The first, of which, Don't Try this at home will review in this post. The publishers kindly sent me a copy of the work in exchange for an honest review.

As I stated in the review of Fables, Pigeonhole Books release their work in a different manner to most other publishers. They release books
Don't Try This at Home is a good short story collection. The twelve stories all explore a weird, funny, sad or unusual idea while at the same time being connected through themes like mother-daughter relationships, and 'what if's. Most of the stories take real life and give it a small twist or present a character or event in an unusual light, which makes all the stories really interesting to read.

I loved the title story and "There's a Woman Works Down the Chip Shop," which is one of the few more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
2.5 stars. I don't know, I thought one or two of these stories were really good but I found the majority of them to be just okay. They aren't overly written or bloated with metaphors, but I felt oddly disconnected throughout most of this collection. I found it difficult to connect with the stories and grew less and less interested as I was reading.

I think maybe this collection just isn't for me. Like I said, I enjoyed a couple of the stories but none of them stuck with me each time I put this d
Mischief Management
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great collection of short stories. They perfectly captured the subjects they tried to convey, and the humanity of the portrayed characters. Even when you can't agree with their decisions, you can't help but wonder if you could do any better under the circumstances. The touches of magical realism are almost an afterthought, leaving it free to interpretation whether they're really there, or whether they're just in the character's mind. That's not easy to accomplish as well as this book ...more
Karen Little
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is one that shows me what short stories can be. Short stories are probably the genre I find least satisfying; so often they leave me wanting more, the sketchiness of the characters (there isn't room to get to know them in short story format,) frustrates me: I'm a great fan of getting to really know interesting characters rather than plot-driven books) Unlike great poetry, short stories rarely fill me with new ways of viewing the world. This book manages to touch in the way that poetry ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this book more than I thought I would after reading the first couple of stories, but less than I wanted too. Overall, I only really enjoyed two stories: 'Surviving Sainthood' and 'There's a Woman Works Down the Chip Shop'. There were a few others which I liked, but not enough, unfortunately.
Beth McCallum
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: unhaul
The writing in this book is beautiful. The author creates some really amazing phrases that put familiar things in a new way. I loved a lot of the stories but this was overshadowed by some of the stories that I found really difficult to engage with. It seemed as if they were super personal and metaphoric for something I'd have no idea about.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Several of the stories here are absolute gems, and Readman certainly has a great imagination-- some of her weird and wonderful ideas are reminiscent of Ronald Dahl; but then again others were totally flat.
Sanne (TheBookDutchess)
3.5 stars overall
Sara Marsden
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Stories too short and too nonsensical for my taste personally
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved these short stories. They were clever and intriguing and I haven't felt this way about short stories in a long time. I highly recommend this.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Each story's enchanting and beautifully layered, remixing dark realities through obscure and whimsical veils. This collection will stay with me for a long time.
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Angela Readman is a twice shortlisted winner of the Costa Short Story Award. Her stories have won the National Flash Fiction Day Competition, The Mslexia Short Story Prize, and The Fish Short Memoir Prize. They have also been shortlisted in the Manchester Fiction Prize.

Her debut story collection Don't Try This at Home was published by And Other Stories in 2015. It won The Rubery Book Prize and was