Two Hundred Very Short Stories by Helen Keeling-Marston

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Title: Two Hundred Very Short Stories

Author: Helen Kelling-Marston

Genre: Short Story Collection

Rating: *****

Review: This book is literally as the title suggests a collection of 200 short stories ranging in length from a few sentences to a few pages. So when it came time to write this review I was a little stumped because I couldn’t use my usual review format. So what I will be doing in writing this review in sections, each section will encompass 50 stories from this collection.

The first 50 stories in this collection were great, there is a wide variety of themes, genres and writing styles. Some of these stories are almost poetic and some are written in mixed media which made for some very interesting reading. I also felt that some of these short stories had the potential to be very good novels if developed correctly. My favourite stories in this section of the novel were number 2 because who wouldn’t want to read a story about a morally ambiguous tooth fairy and having read a middle grade novel with a similar plot I would love to see a longer version of this. I also enjoyed story number 5 purely because of the sarcastic wit the author uses throughout this story and the way it ended had me in stitches. I also really liked 21 because it shows that you don’t know what a person had gone through in their life and you shouldn’t sweat the little things in life. 38 was also great because it shows to different versions of the same story one truthful and honest the other overly exaggerated. I also found it refreshing that the stories weren’t named but numbered. It seemed more personal almost like we are reading the notebook of an author as they wrote down various ideas for their work, it is like being inside the author’s head.

Stories 51 – 100 were brilliant unlike in the first section of the collection these stories had a wider range of diverse themes ranging from historical to fantasy, contemporary to mysteries. I loved how Marston weaves several different stories together making one whole story which was very interesting, but she also manages to weaves underlying themes into stories. I loved how well she write different genres like humour and thriller/mystery style stories and how she deals with some adult themes like relationships and suicide. My favourite stories in this section were 53 because it stars off quite romantic but hits you with a sucker-punch at the end that made me laugh out loud, 84 because despite only being a few lines long it reminds you that everything you say and do has an effect of someone else whether negative or positive rests solely on your own shoulders and finally 86 purely because I felt this was a great plot outline for a full length contemporary novel that would have a radically different view on love triangles as it is told not from the point of view of the woman between two men but rather the man that was left longing for the woman but ultimately gets her in the end.

Stories 101 – 150 were superb, I loved how Marston plays with ideas of life and death and isn’t something I see often as many author tend to stick to the known comfort zones when discussing death while Marston just throws around several ideas all of which I found completely intoxicating. My favourite stories in this section were 108 because the sci-fi, thriller themes in this story literally gave me chills and I would definitely read a full length novel based around this idea, 116 because it shows the values of friendship and how having one true friend can literally change and person’s life and finally 138 because this story has been told in various parts throughout the collection and it is great a man helps a homeless man by offering him a job, he vanishes then reappears as a paramedic and they become best friends, it almost had me in tears.

Stories 151 – 200 were great I loved how Marston uses different writing methods, there are stories written backwards and binary which was extremely pleasing for someone like me who loves reading stories written in different formats. My favourite story in this final part of the collection was 169 because the premise was great and the way it was written was sublime. It is about a man writing in a diary and it comes to light that he doesn’t remember his life and as he gets older he remembers all the things he had forgotten, I was literally in tears and it would make a great contemporary novel especially since it is written in diary entries.

Overall, I really loved this collection and would highly recommend it. Some of the stories would be excellent novels and I hope to read more of Marston’s work very soon.

This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author

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