I have a love/hate relationship with short story collections. They’re hit and miss. Most of the time I end up feeling meh about them. I find it hard to review them, since there are always stories I like and ones I don’t. It’s more challenging than reviewing novels, for me at least.
And Also Sharks by Jessica Westhead is a collection of stories about a variety of ordinary weirdos, the socially awkward of society. I can’t claim to be a fascinating socialite so I should be able to relate somewhat. Maybe too much, because I cringed and felt a second-hand embarrassment for the characters. Sometimes I even felt sad for them. I think that’s what kept me from enjoying this book. I’ve never been a fan of The Office because I always felt bad for Steve Carell’s character for the same reason. People seem to find it funny, so what do I know? I guess it’s a matter of taste.
I did like a few of the stories, like Coconut, probably because it’s less believable than the others. In it, Shelley gets back from vacation and has become so used to getting things “for free” she starts shoplifting. Eventually, it leads to kidnapping. Sounds terrible but it isn’t. What Would I Say is another one I enjoyed. The narrator is such an arse that I didn’t mind her embarrassing herself. She’s a definite fake-friend.
I’m on the fence about the rest. I didn’t give up reading it so that counts for something these days. I did enjoy the writing and the quirkiness of the stories. I think you just have to like this sort of thing.