Upon finishing this collection, two specific thoughts popped into my mind. The first– I’ll continue to show up for anything that Bob Ford writes or recommends. The second thought was more of a question to myself, and that is: What is it that makes Bob’s writing so special? I think I know my answer to that question. For me, it’s the characters that truly stand out. Many of my favorite authors are so skilled at character development, and Bob Ford is no exception to this rule. He has a gift for turning everyday characters into something extraordinary. The stories in this collection are a wonderful blend of characters, settings, and emotions that are real and raw, and that’s what I love about it.
By now you know the drill. Here are my Top 5 stories in this collection:
-MAGGIE BLUE: Wow. This one is unforgettable and unsettling. It left my skin crawling and also had me caring about the main character in less than 15 pages. That’s impressive.
-FREE RIDE ANGIE: I’m no stranger to this character, thanks to my previous read from Bob. I loved reading more of Angie’s story. Bob writes some pretty badass female characters and she’s one of them. I won’t say much more, but you’ll be drawn in just from that opening line, and you won’t want to put the book down until you get to the end of this one.
-BLUEBOTTLE SUMMER: this is a beautifully written story. It’s heartbreaking at times, and also has some brutal moments. I won’t easily forget this one. There’s also a line in this story that I highlighted because I loved it so much. (If you want to know, shoot me a message. I don’t want to spoil it here).
-RACING THE MILK: Another powerful, heartfelt story. If you haven’t heard Bob read this one live, you should. I believe it’s available on YouTube. I loved the subject matter and the formatting in this story.
-OF ALL EVIL: This one is creepy. Things take an unexpected turn for the main characters, and it has an ending that packs a punch. A unique and memorable story.
Another aspect of this collection that I loved– the author’s notes at the end. These, combined with the introduction and afterword, really complete the package for me. I think that author’s notes add so much to the writing for me. I absolutely love the insight into the stories and learning what inspired them. It’s almost as good as talking directly with an author about the stories. This is an earlier collection of stories, as I’ve been reading Bob’s work in a somewhat backward fashion, but it’s solid nonetheless, and I’d highly recommend giving it a read.