The Wonder Garden

by Lauren Acampora
First sentence: “John likes to arrive first.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy pilfered from the ARC shelves at work.
Content: There’s a bunch of f-bombs, but not as many as you’d think. Also some mild drug use and off-screen sex. It’s in the adult fiction section of the bookstore.

If I had to choose a favorite way to read short stories (other than not at all), I prefer them to be interconnected ones. Ones where it almost seems like I’m reading a novel. So, I was immediately made curious about these with the words “intricately interwoven stories”. Yes, please.

And, at first I enjoyed this. One minor character from the previous story would show up as the protagonist in the next, giving layers to what had previously went on. Some stories were odd (the insect installation), others kind of weird (the accountant-turned-hippie). I don’t know if I was truly enjoying it, but I was interested.

But about 2/3 of the way through, it fizzled. I was tired of trying to remember which story what protagonist showed up in. I was bored with the way it interconnected. And the stories weren’t enough to keep me interested; I just couldn’t find myself interested in their lives, and the words just weren’t pulling me in.

It could totally be me: short stories and I aren’t always the best of friends and I may have just not been in the mood for this. But, it is possible that it may have just worn out its welcome.

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