Official Review: Glitteration in the Night and Other Stor...

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Bianka Walter
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Official Review: Glitteration in the Night and Other Stor...

Post by Bianka Walter » 17 Sep 2018, 01:31

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Glitteration in the Night and Other Stories" by John David Wells.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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When you think of a collection of short stories, you think of stories that grab your attention from the get-go, keep you hooked for a few pages, and then end in an interesting way. Glitteration in the Night and Other Stories does not quite fit that mould. The only thing familiar about this compilation of stories is that they are short. Other than that, this assortment of tales steps out of the box in a very curious way.

This is by no means a happy novel, and it delves into every possible morose theme imaginable. There are stories about drug abuse, depression, adultery, and domestic violence - just to name a few. The author introduces every type of character, and somewhere in the book, the reader is bound to identify with at least one of them. The stories take life as we know it and bend it into a depraved world where it seems like nothing will ever be right.

If I have scared you away from reading this book, that is not my intention. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. Because this book takes seemingly normal people and gives the reader a glimpse of their struggles, it made me feel very fortunate. I’m not sure that that was the intended outcome, but I didn’t feel sad about the stories. As a human being, it is virtually impossible to ignore the horrors that occur around us, sometimes even to us. Cheating spouses, friends and family going to war, depression, and, of course, racism are some of the things that affect people daily. We can try to ignore these worries, but it doesn’t make them disappear. Glitteration in the Night and Other Stories merely brings these topics to the forefront and tackles them head-on.

The one disconcerting element to the stories was their endings, or lack thereof. As mentioned, these are not conventional short stories; they didn’t have the standard beginning, middle, and end. They were more like snippets of people’s lives. The pieces of life had beginnings and endings elsewhere – the reader was just not included in them. This didn’t allow for traditional happy endings, nor did it allow for any form of closure. I have to say, I wasn’t too thrilled with the stories ending so suddenly and without any clue as to where they might have been headed. This definitely added to the gloomy nature of the book, but I wasn’t a huge fan.

The author, John David Wells, is a gifted storyteller. It’s hard to jump into a story without any prior understanding of the people or the situation. He does it with ease. He builds his characters with speed and finesse, and they become instantly relatable. One of my favourite lines from the book is:
“Mental illness is quite different from any other kind of illness. If you break your leg, get pneumonia, or get hit by a car, people will be genuinely sympathetic. They will visit you in the hospital, send you cards and lots of get-well wishes. But don’t hurt part of your mind; they can’t deal with it.”
It shows a deep understanding of his subject matter, and I feel like it’s a line that most people can relate to.

The editing was good. It wasn’t perfect – there were a few noticeable errors, but they were superficial errors. The mistake I came across most often was the unintentional omission of words; for example, “You remind of that old commercial” with the “me” missing. Because there were more than ten errors, and because of my dislike of the story structures, I have deducted a star from the total rating. 3 out of 4 stars is a fair evaluation, and I would have probably given it a perfect score had the editing been better. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a frank take on the lives of people going through various struggles. There are no butterflies and rainbows in the narrative, so for people looking for something cheery, this is not the one. It’s an eye-opener, for sure, and I found myself wanting to read on, even with the gloom of life making the stories darker as the book continued.

******
Glitteration in the Night and Other Stories
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Post by kandscreeley » 18 Sep 2018, 08:58

Interesting. At first, I was about to walk away completely thinking this book would make me feel too depressed. However, you made me think... Perhaps it helps us to see our fellow man in a different light. I'll think about this one. I'm still not quite sure. Thanks!
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Post by kfwilson6 » 18 Sep 2018, 10:04

This sounds far too depressing for me. Also, I need closure. I don't want to be left dangling, especially with such gloomy topics at the forefront of these short stories. I like the title and expected something a little more fun with a title including the word "Glitteration." Great review!

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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 18 Sep 2018, 10:29

Thanks for the honest review! Despite a matter-of-fact style of narrative, unconventional structure and lack of conclusion are not something I look forward to in any book. Hence, I will pass this one.

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Post by MsTri » 18 Sep 2018, 11:14

This totally seems like my kind of book! I LOVE dark stories of the depraved and I don't mind that these tales don't have the "normal" flow; I've actually read a few 'slice of life' books here in the last few months, so I'll happily add this one in. Thanks so much for the intro!

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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Sep 2018, 11:23

kandscreeley wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 08:58
Interesting. At first, I was about to walk away completely thinking this book would make me feel too depressed. However, you made me think... Perhaps it helps us to see our fellow man in a different light. I'll think about this one. I'm still not quite sure. Thanks!
I think I’M still not quite sure :lol2: but the more I read, the better I felt. Thanks for commenting!
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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Sep 2018, 11:26

kfwilson6 wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 10:04
This sounds far too depressing for me. Also, I need closure. I don't want to be left dangling, especially with such gloomy topics at the forefront of these short stories. I like the title and expected something a little more fun with a title including the word "Glitteration." Great review!
Glitteration is definitely a fun word. And I agree, with such doom and gloom I wanted endings to give me some closure.
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
- Dr. Seuss

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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Sep 2018, 11:27

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 10:29
Thanks for the honest review! Despite a matter-of-fact style of narrative, unconventional structure and lack of conclusion are not something I look forward to in any book. Hence, I will pass this one.
That’s what the reviews are for, to allow you to make informed decisions 😊
Thanks for commenting!
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Sep 2018, 11:28

MsTri wrote:
18 Sep 2018, 11:14
This totally seems like my kind of book! I LOVE dark stories of the depraved and I don't mind that these tales don't have the "normal" flow; I've actually read a few 'slice of life' books here in the last few months, so I'll happily add this one in. Thanks so much for the intro!
Oh good! Let me know your thoughts if you do read it! It does sound right up your alley 🙂
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Post by Cecilia_L » 18 Sep 2018, 14:29

I'm glad you expanded on the feelings evoked by the struggles in the stories--that caused me to reconsider what sounded like a heavy read. Great review, as always!

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Post by Bianka Walter » 19 Sep 2018, 08:13

After I wrote the synopsis, I thought it might sound very heavy! I'm glad I could change people's minds :) After I read the Amazon blurb, I thought I was in for a depressing, morbid read. It turned out not so bad!
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Post by Sicily Joy » 19 Sep 2018, 13:18

Thanks for a good and detailed review about the collection's structure and themes. I like stories that tackle tough everyday issues and make the reader face and struggle with important topics. The book sounds quite impactful even though the lack of endings might be frustrating.

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Post by Allyseria » 19 Sep 2018, 15:11

Thank you for your review. A lot of books do not centre around these themes, so I think this book will open my eyes. I have never actually read this kind of book before, and although I can usually empathise with these struggles, I think this book will completely make me see things in a different light.

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Post by MsLisa » 19 Sep 2018, 16:37

I think I've had my fair share of depressing short story collections. There seems to be quite a few out there.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 20 Sep 2018, 04:25

Sicily Joy wrote:
19 Sep 2018, 13:18
Thanks for a good and detailed review about the collection's structure and themes. I like stories that tackle tough everyday issues and make the reader face and struggle with important topics. The book sounds quite impactful even though the lack of endings might be frustrating.
It was definitely unusual :) But well worth the read.
Thanks for commenting!
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.
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