I feel it necessary to start this review by giving you a quick bit of information: I am a sucker for short stories. I absolutely eat them up and as such my personal book collection has its fair share of anthologies and collections. Therefore, gladly and without knowing a thing about the stories or author, I took on the task of reviewing Miss Lisamarie Lambâ€™s short story collection Over the Bridge.
Short, indeed, as the entire sixteen stories encompass only 87 pages total. However, while most of the stories are only a handful of pages long, they are entertaining enough that itâ€™s okay. As is the case with most short story collections, there were of course some hits as well as some misses, all of which will be briefly reviewed and graded on a scale of one to ten below.
The first story in the set is one titled â€śThe Plot Thickensâ€ť, in which a married couple both plot to kill each other and collect the life insurance, leading to a rather upsetting ending for them both. I think it did a decent job of setting the mood for the rest of the stories in the collection. With a slight dash of twisted humor and a satisfying ending, this one was a short but sweet experience that earns a seven out of ten.
â€śPrettyâ€ť, the second story in the book and also one of the shortest, was in fact too short in my opinion. I liked the idea (a woman so vain that she goes to drastic measures when a child calls her â€śprettyâ€ť), but I would have liked to see more than just what is offered in the one and a half pages it covers. â€śPrettyâ€ť still gets a six though for concept and (lightning fast) execution.
â€śCatâ€™s Got Your Tongueâ€ť was one of my least favorite. Itâ€™s basically the dialogue of a woman who lost her husband and, evidently, her mind. How the cat comes in to play Iâ€™ll leave for the reader to discover. This one just didnâ€™t entertain me in the way the others did, so it gets a four out of ten.
â€śSay Cheeseâ€ť, in all honesty, reminded me of an old Goosebumps book I read as a kid. In fact, itâ€™s the same plot: a mysterious old camera is found at a yard sale, pictures are taken, and horrible things happen to the people in the pictures. While it was entertaining, I canâ€™t give Ms. Lamb many points for recycling a childrenâ€™s story and not adding any sort of twist to it. Two of ten.
The following story, â€śMedicine Manâ€ť, was a great improvement and in fact was one of the best in the book. This is the story of an old Indian medicine man whoâ€™s slight booze problem leads him into much greater issues. I canâ€™t say much else without giving things away but this was a very refreshing story that gets an eight of ten.
â€śAn Average of Forty-One a Yearâ€ť is another of the high-ranking stories offered here. It involves two couples going on vacation for very different reasons. I wonâ€™t offer any other clues, but this is a definite eight.
I was not a big fan of the seventh story, titled â€śTyger, Tygerâ€ť. It uses a young girlâ€™s imagination to bring about interesting effects, but so much more could have gone into the story. Four of ten is all this story gets.
â€śTravelling Westâ€ť was a gem in my opinion. The story is about a woman on a bus telling her own story to some strangers about why sheâ€™s upset. I loved the dark humor of the ending and give this a nine of ten.
While â€śNo Crying Over Spilled Bloodâ€ť has a pretty lame name, it is a story that really made me want more. I adored the legend of the crying woman that Ms. Lamb created in this piece and I really hope she brings her back for future stories. This is the one and only ten of ten in the book.
The tenth story, â€śSoft Snowflakesâ€ť, was both the shortest and weakest of the collection. A young woman reminisces about her deceased husband. One of ten, the end.
â€śHer Houseâ€ť is a quick little ghost story. Nothing too special here, just a five of ten.
â€śBensonâ€™s Barnâ€ť was another that just did not impress me. Itâ€™s about an abandoned barn that a man takes over and turns into a mechanic shop. Iâ€™ll give it a five of ten, as it was decent but nothing special.
I didnâ€™t like â€śThe Guardiansâ€ť. There wasnâ€™t anything here that impressed me. Thereâ€™s a bit of narrative about a gypsy curse and thatâ€™s it. The guardians themselves are never explained. Two of ten.
â€śHorizonâ€ť was fun to read. Unfortunately, itâ€™s again a very short two-pager. However, it offers a twist ending that is delectable for those with my kind of dark humor. This one gets an eight.
Here is yet another very fun tale. Number fifteen in the book, â€śEternalâ€ť is the tale of a woman who will go to any length to live forever and yet doesnâ€™t have the patience to save herself. This one is a nine, no questions asked.
At last, we come to the final story of the book, â€śThe Dead Shipâ€ť. While it wasnâ€™t the greatest story, it wasnâ€™t the worst either and it deserves a six of ten for the interest it kept.
Overall, the quality of the stories is a bit of a mixed bag, but there are a few gems in here that make this particular collection well worth the money.
Book Review: Over the Bridge – Author Lisamarie Lamb