"Head-Broken and Heartbroken" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Unnerving
Written by Eddie Generous
2019, 236 pages, Fiction
Released on May 14th, 2019
It’s not often that I completely dig a writer from the first work I read by them, especially both their long and short prose. Generally, I like their short or novella work but not their novel-length pieces – or vice versa – or sometimes it just takes me a book or two to really appreciate them. Not so much with author Eddie Generous. From his novels Radio Run and Great Big Teeth to his collection Something in the Water (Collections Book 2), I’ve been nothing but impressed with the range Generous has shown. That range is on point in Head-Broken and Heartbroken (Collections Book 1), and I’m not the least bit surprised. (Note: as I suspected in my review of Something in the Water, it does not matter which order you read these.)
Head-Broken and Heartbroken starts out splendidly with the dynamite “Flying the Mercury” opening the collection. Centering on two boys doing what boys do when left unsupervised – in this case, seeing how far they can get the family farm truck to jump – the story is equal parts painful and anxiety-inducing. Even though you have a pretty good idea what happens from go, Generous still had me holding my breath in parts.
“Nathanial’s Time” follows and what begins as a sweet tale of a little girl and her imaginary friend soon enough turns extremely dark and uncomfortable. This is a great example of why I’ve come to really dig Generous’ work. He’s equally adept at telling a fun-as-hell story about giant monsters or dinosaurs as he is telling tales that rip you heart out.
Speaking of beasts, “Fix Job” is a fun jaunt into a sub-basement of terror in both the animal and human forms. Long story short, poor blue-collar worker Zolan has to fight both his boss for his money (lovingly called the “Pammy tax”) and the beasts that lurk below.
Another favorite, “Beyond the Mess” is a nice sci-fi/horror blend about a police officer who comes upon a group of children planning to go to Mars in the rocket ship they created. “Probably just some kids, what harm could they do.” Yeah, we know how this goes.
“Joe Adams, Joe Adams” is a heartbreaker of a story that deals with abuse and ultimately revenge (one of my favorite themes). It centers on a young boy who in a desperate attempt to hide from the rage of his douche of a father discovers a hidden portal to another world where the residents’ job is to reward the people on this side who do good and punish those that don’t. You have to love a good revenge tale.
Eight other stories await in Head-Broken and Heartbroken, each one as enjoyable as the last, and is a great bookend to Generous’ other collection, Something in the Water. While I do enjoy some more than others (like, you know, the five I just mentioned), overall the book is another solid release from him. Not only should you pick this up, but you should tell your friends how much you enjoyed it because more people need to read the works of Eddie Generous.
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