Kristine Hall's Reviews > Tenth of December

Tenth of December by George Saunders
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's review
Feb 07, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: adult

If I could, I'd give this book 3.5 stars. Rating short story compilations is so hard! And what a contrast after reading ten juvenile short stories in GUYS READ: FUNNY BUSINESS.

I had never read anything by this author and got interested by the rave reviews and clever posting I saw beneath its display at Book People, in Austin, Texas.

Many of the reviews and praise for this book mentioned its humor. Truly, I didn't find much in it very amusing -- the characters and stories were so heartbreaking and real, that I found myself feeling a little melancholy over the state of our world. I didn't laugh at all because the characters were just so pitiful or pathetic, it seemed wrong to find their situations funny.

The stories were creative -- very creative -- and each interesting enough that I wanted to finish it; however, the narration styles were a bit repetitious, heavy on internal monologues and dialogues and very abrupt endings. Sometimes the endings worked for me and made powerful statements, sometimes not.

My absolute favorite was Sticks, which was only two pages long, but it packed more meaning into it than any other story in the book. When I finished that one, I actually said an out loud "WOW." My second favorite, due to the sheer irony and plausibility of what should be a ridiculous concept, was The Semplica Girls Diaries.

Of the ten stories, I'd say 5 I liked (and of those, two I REALLY liked), 3 I felt neutral, and 2 I didn't like at all. There are some great lines and some very interesting characters, and Saunders does a great job of making you have definite feelings about them. He is clearly a gifted writer and a keen observer of humanity. Too bad the humanity he observed in this book is such a mess.


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Reading Progress

February 7, 2014 – Started Reading
February 7, 2014 – Shelved
February 9, 2014 –
page 101
40.24% "can you say internal monologue? Favorite story so far is STICKS. A lot said in little writing."
February 13, 2014 –
page 170
67.73% "The Semplica Girl Diaries...chilling."
February 19, 2014 –
page 230
February 19, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 20, 2014 – Shelved as: adult

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