Review of Chickenshit

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Review of Chickenshit

Post by MsTri »

[Following is an official review of "Chickenshit" by Tom Garber.]
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5 out of 5 stars
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One of the definitions for "chickenshit" on is "used when something makes no sense or is completely stupid," and it seems pretty appropriate for the book titled Chickenshit: Everything You Need to Know but Would Rather Not by Tom Garber. That is, the book itself makes sense, but the actions of the characters therein frequently do not.

As a big fan of Aesop's Fables, I was delighted to read "A light-hearted book of quirky fantasy stories about a Wise Old Chicken and his exploits with humanized animals and vegetables" as part of the description. And while this collection doesn't quite reach Aesop's heights, the tales were very reminiscent of the famous author's writings. I especially liked that the Wise Old Chicken usually acted as an audible moral of the story, though some of the tales did have morals at the beginning of the telling. Additionally, W.O.C., as I'll refer to him hereafter, had three chapters devoted to his lectures; one chapter wherein Raven interviews the foul; and the introductory chapter, where we first meet the rooster.

Each story was pretty short with no tale lasting longer than roughly twenty pages. One of my favorite yarns was "Trees in the Forest," which sort of answers the question of "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" I also really liked "The Unfortunate Cockroach Experiment." As a hater of the vermin, I had no problem laughing at the result of the main character's experiment when he tried to solve his negative self-esteem issues. "The Bear and the Dentists" was also a bawdy narrative that made me chuckle and shake my head at the bear's exploits when he had ulterior motives for seeing his dentist time and again. Of the W.O.C.'s lectures, my favorite was the final one, titled "The Wise Old Chicken Lecture Number 68-7/8." In this lecture, the W.O.C. gives a discourse on zombie demographics and "how they blend with Western markets."

While I did like most of the tales in Chickenshit, the book as a whole didn't quite captivate me as much as I'd hoped. Too many of the protagonists were too silly, and the W.O.C. sometimes seemed like a more minor character than I initially presumed he would be. Additionally, some anecdotes included scenes that I felt were unnecessary. For instance, the aforementioned third W.O.C. lecture included a beginning that I could have done without. There was also a veiled threat in the introductory chapter that the author never circled back around to.

This compilation appears to have been professionally edited, as I noted only one true error and one uncounted misstep. As a result, I am rating this anthology 5 out of 5 stars. While not every story was my vibe, I refuse to take away a star because they weren't all my cup of tea. I am also happy to recommend Chickenshit to fans of Aesop, readers who enjoy short fables, and readers who like story collections. I will note that even though the book does include anthropomorphism throughout, this is NOT a collection for youngsters. In addition to several instances of profanity, the tome also includes a few allusions to sexuality. Therefore, readers who cannot stomach these features should steer clear.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
- Confucius as quoted by W.O.C. in Chickenshit.

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