Tung's Reviews > The Best American Series: 20 Short Stories and Essays

The Best American Series by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Mar 18, 2012

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bookshelves: short-stories
Read from March 18 to April 01, 2012

The title explains the contents of this book – 20 short pieces of writing that ranged from short stories to travel writing to essays. There is no explanation of how these particular pieces were chosen or why they were bundled together. There were stories in there that I think were chosen more for their subject matter than their prose (e.g. a story about the Haiti earthquake, a story about Muslims, an essay about abortion). The word “best” in the title is a bit misleading for me since, for the most part, I found the pieces good but not spectacular. My favorite piece of writing in the book is the first story (“Housewifely Arts”), which was a beautifully-told story about a woman dealing with emotionally-complicated memories of her dead mother (and the mother’s pet bird). I also enjoyed the second story (“Soldier of Fortune”) about a man remembering a crush he had on a mysterious neighbor girl. My favorite nonfiction piece was the story “What Broke My Father’s Heart,” an essay about medical care costs and death and euthanasia. Overall, good variety, but I’d only classify only a quarter of these 20 pieces as strong reads.

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