One of These Things is Not Like the Others

by Stephanie Johnson
ISBN: 9780982151211

I get irritated when I read yet another article about how short stories don’t sell. I no longer read much past the headlines of these pieces, because I think they are foolish. People love stories. We never get sick of good stories, we’ll listen to them over and over (and read them more than once, too). Ok, fine, most people probably don’t buy them in book form as often as I do, but that is really because most people don’t buy as many books as I do.

I liked this collection of stories. They have good pain in them, the kind of thing that you recognize and maybe wince when you read. Johnson writes about real life (“My Neighbor Doesn’t Remember Everything She Forgets”) in such a way that even when she is referencing a famous movie character (“The Real Mrs. Robinson Takes a Moment to Reconsider”) you know she is talking about real things not movie and tv things, and certainly not “reality” tv things. She’s also funny, but in the less obvious, not a laugh track kind of way (“Marriage”, “Dragons”).

Because some of the stories feel like a gut punch — can you say that and add “in a good way” or is that too weird? as generally speaking gut punches are not good things — I will be looking forward to her next collection.

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