Review of Music from a Strange Planet

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Chinaza Nnabuenyi
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Latest Review: Music from a Strange Planet by Barbara Black

Review of Music from a Strange Planet

Post by Chinaza Nnabuenyi »

[Following is an official review of "Music from a Strange Planet" by Barbara Black.]
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4 out of 5 stars
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Music from a Strange Planet: Stories by Barbara Black is a conglomerate of twenty-four beautifully-written short stories that cut across various relatable themes with highlights of love, music, science, folly, relationships, and morals. Through the character of Lucky Bee in one of her stories, the author carefully imprints upon the reader's heart that "all sound is music".

Music could emanate from the most profound and not-so-profound channels, including the onomatopoeic sounds of animals and objects. Music is life.

I find Cora in the "Darkling Beetle" story quite funny and weird. From her owl-shaped glasses to her darkling beetle costume for Halloween, her strange preferences puts everyone off, especially her mum. She silently rains curses while working on the costume, including the ridicule and scorn of her peers and neighbors. Whoever gave her this idea must be a sadist. Notwithstanding, I love her spirit and her strong stand for what she wants. She chooses to challenge the Halloween costume status quo of the other kids. She has the same audacity and cry-baby trait as Louise in the story "Hot July Day." From her confrontation with her dad at dinner, it's obvious Louise must have metaphorically died to her crippling fear and timidity. I hope Cora doesn't receive more jeering and booings from her peers when they catch up. I'm trying to give readers glimpses of the beauty of a few of these stories.

Another story titled 'Be my Beloved' is my favorite story from the author's collection. Margo is seen planning hard to go the way of sologamy. I couldn't agree more with the author when she opines that "this sologamy thing’s like upscale narcissism." If not, why on earth would anyone want to marry themselves? Why swear yourself into 'eternal exclusion?' It is such a boring and uninteresting life. On the verge of Margo's marriage to herself, fate seems to catch up with her; I hope that a 360-degree mind shift ensues.

While some of the storylines match the titles given to them, some other stories have little or no match to their titles. Even the ones with matching titles and storylines needed more substance in some way. The author should work on making her plot sync with the title.

There was no error found as I read through the book. It was exceptionally well edited. The tone is warm, and the language is easy to read. But dues to the inconsistencies mentioned above, I will be quick to rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Everyone can read this book, but I'll recommend it to short story lovers.

Music from a Strange Planet
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Amy Luman
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Post by Amy Luman »

I am not really a big fan of short stories. They usually don’t have enough time for what I consider proper development. I can appreciate the quote about music, though.
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Mercy Sos
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Post by Mercy Sos »

I don't really think I would like to read this book. But your review was a nice one. Thanks for the review.
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Post by FunkyFlowerLady »

You've perfectly captured the gist of the book in your review. Congrats!
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