Infused with gentle optimism, eleven uncompromising stories explore, each in its own way, the nature of sacrifice. Mum and Nan struggle to contrive a sense of normal family life in the emotionally charged environment of a women’s shelter. A visual artist faces the return of her wayward daughter, who brings home her new boyfriend, the lumbering behemoth, Zol. A bereaved womInfused with gentle optimism, eleven uncompromising stories explore, each in its own way, the nature of sacrifice. Mum and Nan struggle to contrive a sense of normal family life in the emotionally charged environment of a women’s shelter. A visual artist faces the return of her wayward daughter, who brings home her new boyfriend, the lumbering behemoth, Zol. A bereaved woman lies restless and alone in bed, her thoughts troubled by the plaintive cries of the dog locked in next-door’s laundry. At once dark, poignant and witty, Isobel Blackthorn’s first collection of short stories depicts intimately and honestly the travails and heroic responses of women and men confronting the pith of their lives....
|Title||:||All Because of You|
|Number of Pages||:||124 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
All Because of You Reviews
Review originally published at Jess's Reading Nook *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*I don’t normally read short stories (unless they were written by Ernest Hemingway), but I requested this collection first and foremost because I was attracted to the cover. But I was mostly interested in the short stories mentioned in the second paragraph of the blurb, and so I requested a copy on Netgalley. Shortly after, I was approved.Anyway, apparently this was originally published in 2012 and republished recently, with 3 more stories added. So without further ado…Plot:When it comes to reviewing short stories, it’s a little different than reviewing a novel because each story is different. Usually, there are stories I loved and stories I didn’t in a single collection, and this holds pretty true All Because of You.I enjoyed the first half of the collection, really up until the 70% mark. They were easy to read and engaging. All the stories were well structured and believable, but the last 30% of the collection didn’t hold my attention as well. I guess my real problem was that the stories at the end seemed a little random. There was one about a man who moved to Australia from Scotland, and I had a hard time seeing how it fit in, especially since most of the other stories centered around women. I guess those stories just didn’t meet my expectations based on what was focused on in the blurb.Character:While the characters (and by characters I mean the narrators in each story) were well developed, they all seemed to have the same voice. There were only a few (two or three) stories where the narrator’s voice was definitely different from the others. I can see them being similar because all the stories touch on similar themes, but at the same time, I felt like there should have been more differences throughout the characters in the collection instead of just at the end. Other than that, I could believe that the characters felt the way that they did and acted the way that they did because they were so well-developed and because it seemed so authentic, which I think can be hard for some authors to capture so props to Blackthorn for that.Writing: I liked how the stories were structured, and I liked how things became more clear as you read the story. The structure in itself reminded me of Hemingway’s short stories (especially the ones centering around Nick). I think that’s why I found the stories to be as engaging as I did.However, the writing did distract me. While I thought the author excelled in writing dialogue, the prose was rather repetitive and that repetitiveness really came down to word choice. There were instances when the author was using the same word (and usually it was an odd word choice) over and over again- within the same page. ThatI also don’t like when authors use “said tags” like “she said passionately” or whatever, and I noticed that a few times in this collection. But what bothered me even more was that it seemed like the author consulted a thesaurus too many times when simpler words would have done well, and this was what really made the “voice” of each narrator sound the same. It just sounded a little…pretentious.Total stars: 3.5
This powerful collection of stories hit me hard, and I think will do the same for anyone, men and women, leaving you thoughtful about certain relationships in your own life, and about people you may have known in these sorts of troubles, perhaps even have tried to help.Most of the tales are narrated in the first person and by women. They seek escape from abuse and manipulation, and not always from husbands and ‘lovers’. One tormentor turns out to be a therapist, another a female ‘friend’. We meet survivors bonding in the soul-destroying shelters. We watch on as mothers, themselves survivors of dire relationships, struggle and fail to save their daughters from also being undervalued and misused. The belief by so many victims that the blows dealt to them are somehow their own fault permeates these stories. Their tenuous grasp of self esteem, even when they’ve perhaps had years to feel safe again, is vividly portrayed in ‘Bad Good Friday’ in which a woman tries to cudgel up a sense of grief for her dead father, who we gather was cold and cruel, while all the long night someone’s locked up dog howls with its own misery. The last three tales have a lighter touch which leads you out from the others with a sense of relief, even a smile. Two are narrated by males, and one in the third person. While this change in form might seem at first discordant, I found it fitting. A wounded person often needs a wholly different perspective - usually that of someone who at last cares, to find the sense of hope the sub-title of these stories refers to.
If you like short stories, this is worth a read! Full review: http://whatevercatchesmyfancy.blogspo...
All Because of You is a collection of short stories by Isobel Blackthorn. The organizing theme for the stories is seeking refuge, whether women seeking refuge in a shelter, a daughter seeking it with her mother or an immigrant seeking refuge in another country.Some of the stories were moving. I particularly liked the generational short story Mother’s Day that opened the collection. A woman and her daughter flee her abusive husband who is threatening to take the daughter away and her mother goes into shelter with her. Their closeness was deeply affecting.The stories are organized into four thematic collections, Refugees, The Wayward Daughter, Abusers, and Hope. I find it odd that two of the stories that showed there is hope were narrated by men and the third, the person who found hope is not the person the story is about. That is sad. Most of these stories are sad.The Wayward Daughter was particularly disturbing because it is the story of the headlong pursuit of the wrong man. The collection of stories of Abusers had one particularly powerful story where a woman who desperately needs therapy goes to an abusive therapist. I guess if my anxieties came from several disastrous relationships with men, I would not go to a male therapist.While there are some affecting and emotionally moving stories in this collection, particularly the first two stories, Mother’s Day and The Moon Circle, some of the stories were not particularly interesting. A few did not really fit into the collection. Strangely, the title story “All Because of You” was the most discordant.The prose is fine. It’s the actual story that fails for me. Blackthorn is best with dialogue, including the alternately amusing and heartbreaking run-on dialogue of the hairdressing gossip. What is missing for me, though, is an understanding of why some of the stories need telling. There feels like there is no “there” there and I was bored. In truth, I kept going to finish mainly because there was not that much left to read. I am glad I did because the last story is another one of the better ones.I was provided a review copy by the publisher through NetGalley.
Reviewed by Melissa Tanaka for Readers' FavoriteAll Because of You: Eleven Tales of Refuge and Hope is a collection of stories by Isobel Blackthorn. Powerful and poignant, Blackthorn presents several tableaux of life, reminding us that many of us are fighting various battles of our own with varying degrees of intensity and resolution. While some of the stories make it clear what the characters are seeking refuge from, others are more indistinct which creates a sense of discord that parallels the chaos of escape that so many of the characters follow. In addition, many of the stories are written in the first person which makes it easier to connect with the narrator and understand their point of view. Throughout the collection, Blackthorn utilizes rich descriptions and language to portray vivid images of the women and their lives, both the ones they are living now and the ones that they had escaped.One of my absolute favorites in the collection was The Moon Circle, a powerful and all too real story that leaves you reeling from beginning to end. It was incredibly powerful and evoked a strong visceral reaction from me. The story focuses on a woman named Tammy and an unnamed narrator, both of whom are in a shelter, seeking refuge from men who are physically and emotionally abusive, respectively. Throughout The Moon Circle you can feel the vulnerability and fear that the women have in their hearts, but you can also feel their strength and the hope that they hold onto. Overall, All Because of You: Eleven Tales of Refuge and Hope is a powerful collection of stories that hits you hard, leaving you contemplating the good and bad of life and looking forward to the future.