"Alternative Serving Sizes" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Unnerving
Written by Eddie Generous
2019, 181 pages, Fiction
Released on October 14th, 2019
To date, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read from Eddie Generous. From the novellas (Radio Run, Great Big Teeth) to the collections of short stories (Head-Broken and Heartbroken, Something in the Water) I’ve devoured, the man has not disappointed me. So when I got the opportunity to review his collection of very short stories, Alternative Serving Sizes, naturally I jumped on it.
Once I started reading the tales in Alternative Serving Sizes, I realized this was a bit different from his prior collections that I’ve read. These stories are short. If my count is right, there are 43 stories found in the book’s 181 pages, so that comes out to just over four pages per tale. Is this what is known as flash fiction? I don’t know. But this is the first time I’ve read a collection like this, and I’m still not sure how I feel.
Wait, scratch that, I do know how I feel. I enjoyed this not unlike I find enjoyment many times I read something outside of my comfort zone. It certainly helps that an author whose work I really enjoy is the one introducing me to this style. But…I also need more.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the selections found here are pretty fun (and many are pretty funny). For example, “Over Hash Browns” is a delightfully dark tale laced with humor about why you maybe shouldn’t pick up a hitchhiker, even if you kind of know them. And “Heartbreak Dormitory” is both disgusting and hilarious, guaranteeing you will never think of Elvis the same way again. Ever.
And then you have tales like “Straight Home”, which is as tragic as it is creepy, and why you should always listen to your parents when they say come straight home. “You’re It” is equally disturbing, and it will make you think twice the next time you’re invited to play a nice game of tag.
It should be obvious why I’m so brief with these descriptions, but just in case it’s not, saying anything more would spoil them. At about four pages a story, anything more than a sentence description will ruin it for you, and nobody wants that.
I’ve mentioned the range Generous has in my reviews of his other collections, and that is on full display here as well. Heck, the stories I mentioned above show his ability to be hilarious, heartbreaking, and terrifying. The man has range and you really never know what you are going to get from one story to the next, which is quite okay because it’s a nice hodgepodge of emotions.
However, as much as I enjoyed Alternative Serving Sizes, I much prefer Generous’ longer pieces, be it novella-length or just a more developed short story. I like it when the tale he’s telling has more room to breathe and flex its muscle.
While these “servings” really are perfect when you are waiting in line at a bank…wait, do people even do that anymore?...I’m more okay with a bigger piece of the pie, even if I can’t eat it all at once. That’s not to say I’m not happy I read this. Quite the contrary. It’s just one more reason to praise the versatility of Eddie Generous’ work.
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