Before you ask the question, the answer is no. No, you don’t actually need a trigger warning to read this book. To be brutally honest, I’m the kind of person that’s easily unnerved and a well-timed “boo!” on a Ghost Train can send me into full-scale panic. Yet, sadly while reading this, I didn’t find myself leaving the warm comfort of my living room and wasn’t transported to some upsetting place like I was promised.
The thing is I wanted to like this so much more, because I did appreciate Gaiman’s introduction (my only complaint is that he could have gone further). Still for all his talk at the start of these being unsettling, I found a lot of his tales less-than-scary. Don’t get me wrong, they were, in typical Gaiman fashion, wonderfully weird, amusing and mildly unsettlingly. They were somewhere on Gaiman’s usual scale, between handsomely unique to strikingly strange. “Triggering” though? Not so much. I think the first line of his intro works as a better title for the whole book- these are “Little Triggers”.
Now, this may realllly sound like I didn’t like this book. Dare to take a sneak peek at my rating and you’ll see that’s not the case at all 😉 In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of these, respected the way he told each story differently and was never bored. But having had some time to reflect on this (it’s been about a month since I read it- ooh err, I’m always late with reviews!) this was a case of overpromising and under delivering.
That said, it was a really good collection, so here’s some of my highlights and (not-all-that-bad) lowlights:
The Thing About Cassandra– I really loved how this brought back my teenagedom. It was a super clever story, with a good twist.
Jerusalem– I felt a bit meh about this one, though, if I try to articulate why, I might sound like I have “Jerusalem Syndrome” myself. It’s just that I’ve been a number of times and this didn’t capture the city for me. It was a tad reductive.
Click Clack The Rattle Bag– Arghh!! This was the wrong story to read before bed! It was shudder-inducingly creepy!! And probably the most triggering 😉
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury– I thought this was quite genius and absolutely admired concept.
Orange– I loved the style of this one the most and it was quite possibly my favourite. I adored the laugh out loud wit here.
My Last Landlady– atmospheric and a little spine tingling- I loved it!
Nothing O Clock– I liked the “what’s the time Mr Wolf” element- but the trouble is I fell out of love with Dr Who years ago (that whole Amy’s pregnant-not-pregnant thing drove me cuckoo) so it just wasn’t for me.
Ultimately while I wouldn’t advise reader discretion at all (but then I never do) one tip I would give before going in is that it helped to be well-versed in Gaiman, since a couple of stories were connected to American Gods and Ocean at the End of the Lane (which, FYI, are great books and you should read regardless 😉 ) Anyway, that’s enough rambling, my rating was:
Okay, yes, I realise that might be a surprise to some people given the review- but have you ever had a bone to pick with a book you liked before? Let me know in the comments!