4 out of 4 stars
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The book, Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016, was a pleasant surprise. It contains thirty-three short stories, two graphic novels depicting two of the short stories, and one novella. While these stories are considered fiction, many of the stories portray themes and ideas that could happen or could have happened in real life. It should be noted that this book has themes that are not meant for a younger audience. The short stories range from a tale of a family whose unmarried teenage daughter gets pregnant and then sent away to give birth and give the child away, to a young girl who is trying to get away from a being a sex slave, to a man who's life seems to just keep falling apart.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The short stories are very well written and have been edited professionally. I gave this book 4 starts intead of 3 for many reasons. In several of the short stories, I enjoyed that the language that was used and how things were written was in a dialect that the people of the story would normally use. An example of this is the story "Gatemouth Willie Brown on Guitar" which is about a street musician who is most likely uneducated and that comes through in the writing style. The first one that i ran into, I thought was full of mistakes. I soon realized that the author was just trying to portray how the characters of the stories think and speak. It was really interesting to read and it made the stories more enjoyable.
The graphic novels were beautifully drawn. The two were drawn in different art styles, but the styles chosen for each graphic novel fit the stories very well. I do not believe that either graphic novel would have been as good if they were drawn in the same way as the other. Since the short stories associated with these graphic novels are located in the same book, I thought it was good that the short stories were located earlier then the graphic novels associated with them. I was able to appreciate the art more by being able to read the short stories first because I had more background and thus was not left to try and figure out some aspects that were not shown/discussed in the graphic novels.
The novella, named "Sister Carrie", was, like the rest of the book, very well written. While short, I was still able to get an ample amount of information about the characters, themes, and background of the story. Many novellas that I have read do not always give enough information, which results in confusion and dislike of the story. "Sister Carrie" was not like that and I was able to enjoy it throughout reading it and at the end I wasn't left feeling like there needed to be more.
Those that would be most interested in this book would be those who enjoy fiction. More specifically, people who enjoy fiction about life, or events that could have occurred. Those who prefer mostly the fiction genres of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or horror would not be too interested in this book since none of the short stories fit those themes. Overall, i would say that this book is worth a read.
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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