Do you fancy a collection of stories about tragic lives of females and children? If so, then this book is for you. Death is Not an Option is a collection of short stories that center around this theme.
I find it funny and intriguing how the author thought of this theme to unify these stories. One story involves a school teacher who obsesses about one of her students as the student constantly feature scratch marks that seem to be only explained by child abuse. Another story features a writer who wanted to rent an apartment, only to find out that the landlord is a sexually obsessed fan. In another story, a girl is featured bidding farewell to former classmates in a Catholic school who constantly bullied her.
What is common here is that this is a collection of stories about victims. Which makes me wonder why is it that the topic of victims and victimhood is such a popular theme nowadays. What is it that makes people read them? Do we enjoy seeing and reading about how other people suffer? Do we read them because we are curious to know how it is to suffer? Do we read them because it would be preferred to just read about them than to actually experience them? In short, I have to admit that I found myself involved in these stories.
There are a few tricks that were employed in the stories to keep me interested. I liked how other stories featured different perspectives and narrative styles. I liked the fact how the stories seemed so similar and related that I almost thought that each story linked to the next with same or similar characters.
One complaint I had is that most of the stories centered around female victims. I do realize that women are more likely to be victims than men, so this might just be reflective of the general trend. However, I was a little curious about victimhood from the perspective of men. Perhaps this is the wrong book to read if I wanted that, given that the author is female. However, in a short story collection centering around the theme of victimhood, then I was hoping there would be a sampler.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. I have to say though, that I am ambivalent as to whether I would recommend it or not. I liked it, but wasn't too thrilled about it.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
See my other book reviews here.