6.14.2006

Pieces pieces.

Finally, to complete today's triptych of (barely) literary and often way too personal crap...

You know how in the last post we mentioned that someone called us one of her heroes because she enjoyed a story we wrote before the dawn of man? Well, we just peeked at the Amazon.com reviews of the book our story, "Polaroid," appeared in and would like, if we may, to share some of the choicest for your enjoyment. What you need to know before diving in is that the book featured 15 stories by never-published authors, and it was edited by Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of a Wallflower and the screenplay of Rent. There are only 18 reviews (so, you can already get a sense of what we're dealing with here), so this shouldn't take long. We'll provide commentary in italic whenever we see fit. Oh, and please don't buy the book.

Chbosky should know better, August 29, 2000
Reviewer: A reader
I found this collection to be filled with the kind of tripe one usually encounters in freshman composition. I think it is great MTV is trying to help new writers. I think they did these writers a favor, however, as any decent journal around would reject these stories as cardboard cut-outs of what true short fiction is all about. The Ford's, the O'Brien's, the Boyles of the world all got their starts penning work for serious literary magazines that would stare at these stories and say "These people are young and inspired but a mile away from good." Chbosky is a fine writer but I question his editing skills with these choices. Why not get a serious MTV writer like Goldberg or Nersesian to pick next time?

Some bright young talents, February 26, 2001
Reviewer:L. Bestriz "meisels" (Turiste, Italy) - See all my reviews
True, most of these stories are pretty terrible: incoherent, recycled modern fiction. But the book is saved by its few good stories, Davy Rothbart's in particular. He's brave enough to take on a rarely-heard voice -- that of a prison inmate -- and honest enough to pull it off. Kudos.

Davy Rothbart went on to become, as far as we know, the only person to acheive any sort of fame. He is the editor of the well-respected Found Magazine. Kudos.

I wasn't impressed with these Pieces, April 28, 2001
Reviewer:"indie-snob" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
Stephen Chbosky- one of my favorite authors and diectors and screenplay producers. I have the greatest respect for him and especially for his Perks of Being a Wallflower, but this was BAD! There was maybe one or two good stories out of the dozen or so that were featured.

I expected this book to be a masterpiece, but it surely wasn't. The writing was nothing fantastic and half the stories didn't have a well developed plot and I'm terribly disappointed with this work. It's a waste of $

*The first story, Scoring, is about some guys problem with drugs. He wants as many pills as posible-- Not original
*Polaroid is very descriptive, and is almost a circle of the lives of the people surrounding the base of the Eifel Tower.
*Day of the Dead- some guy's weird deal with the author of a health food book and his girlfriend... BAD
*The White Carousel Horse is my favorite story. Its wonderful and sad and shows the chronology of a young girl's deteriorating family.
*First Snow is okay. Its an average jail story
*Carnival is also interesting, you aren't quite exactly sure what its about, but I think its about the guilt of getting an abortion.
*Petty Theft is amazingly stupid. There's not much interesting about it.
*Next Time is weird. Its the story of a housewife's awful marriage and a man trying to rob her home the she befriends, but is killed before he can get out.
*Black Cowboy- more waste of paper
*Pinball- sick, perverted, totally MTV. A man's experiment with gay activities.
*Roam is an interesting story of a cook's experience at the home of the very wealthy. It was at par.
*Mother was a wonderful, heartfelt story. It's actually a worth-while read!
*Respiration was, again, par. It almost seemed like you were in the movies Erin Brokovic or the Rainmaker.
*A Fortune- this sounds like a dumb blonde joke. Not too good.
*Forbidden Fate- ahh... its okay. The story of arranged marriages... not my favorite.

Nothing in this book struck me as wonderful. The only other good thing in here is the introduction by Stephen Chboksy. Every thing else can be ripped out and used as kindlin'

Our story is kind of spared here, with just a brief summary of what it's about. But apparently we have to go start a fire with it, anyway. BRB.

an amazing collection of stories, August 9, 2001
Reviewer:Stephen S. Mills (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This collection of short stories left me wanting more from many of the authors included, many of which are working on novels. I was first led to this book by the editer, Stephen Chbosky, whose novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as become a personal favorite, one I've already read twice.

The stories included are all refreshing and range greatly in style and subject matter. I was amazed by so many of them and was stunned by the authors interesting, hip and refreshing take on telling a story. I don't normally read short stories, but I really liked reading them because so many of them are very short, 10 pages or less and you can read them quickly and be done with those characters. Also if there is one you don't care much for it's not very long and you can move on to another more interesting story.

Some of my favorite stories were, "Polariod," which gets you into the mind of crowd all standing around the Eiffel Tower. The way the story is told is awesome and leaves you satisfied. "The Carnival" was another favorite, it's amazing use of metaphor will leave you breathless.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in finding new, fresh, authors who aren't afraid of shocking you.

We only reprint this positive review because our story is singled out as one of his favorites. Finally! Except it's "Polaroid," not "Polari"...oh, who fuckin' cares.

Did a deadline influence this book?, June 22, 2002
Reviewer:Miranda (Owensboro, KY United States) - See all my reviews
This book has fifteen stories. Among those fifteen, one ending has yet to be found. The stories have no sense of finality. Some of the stories were just plain awful, whereas some could have been salvaged if the authors had wrapped things up and given the story a true ending.
The best part of this book was the introduction by Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Sadly, the introduction only lasts three pages, leaving about one hundred and fifty more to wade through. I wouldn't even recommend this book to an enemy, let alone a friend.

"I wouldn't even recommend this book to an enemy, let alone a friend." Brilliant. Honestly. We totes heart Miranda.

Pieces of Sh... well, I don't wanna finish it., April 1, 2004
Reviewer:Anderson Summerville (St Louis, Mo, USA) - See all my reviews
Being somewhat anti-MTV and someone who prefers tried and true authors, I admit I approached this book with perhaps an overly critical eye.
It turns out I was in for a big shock. It was worse than I could have imagined. This collection features some of the worst, most cliched PIECES of garbage I have ever had the misery to read.
Everything about it screams second-rate and pretense. Not one story was compelling in the least, especially not stories such as the thinly veiled (...) that is PINBALL. Nevertheless, if you prefer hackneyed and boring stories then by all means buy this book and be happy.

Ouch! "PIECES of garbage" is pretty good, though.

Here's our fave...

a grade chart for these stories, June 16, 2003
Reviewer:jasper "wfep" (asheville, nc USA) - See all my reviews
when i read a collection of short stories, i like to pretend that i am the teacher in a creative writing class and give the stories and their authors a grade. this helps me decide which authors i am going to pursue further (i use collections to find new authors). i decided to publish my grades on this collection after seeing other assesments here that were grossly out of line with mine. and my grades are.....

scoring - B minus
polaroid - C
day of the dead - B
the white carousel horse - F
first snow - B
the carnival - F
petty theft - C minus
next time - B
black cowboy - A
pinball - C
mother - F
respiration - C minus
a fortune - D
forbidden state - C minus

notice the nice distribution all averaging to a C. by the way, any editors or english departments that read these and decide to do the same and come up with the exact same grades as i, and realizing my undiscovered genius wish to employ me, i am available.

to those authors who got bad grades, its just one man's very subjective opinion. you should be chuffed that you got published and dont give up. to carmen elena mitchell, i am awaiting more with great anticipation.

This review is very Entertainment Weekly. We managed to score a "C," which, comparatively, isn't that bad. It's not an "A," of course, but it's not a "C-minus," either, thanks god. And, we were, in fact, "chuffed" to be published, but we did give up, anyway. Well, there's this site. So, yeah, we gave up.

All right. We're done with this self-non-self-promotion. And, more importantly, the frickin' italics. You're free to go. You know entirely too much about us now. We promise never to let that happen again. Go. Get out of here. Shoo. Scram. Beat it.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wow, I got what I asked for! Interesting...