Over the past two months, I’ve been participating in a groupread of Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things,” as a part of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. For those of you who haven’t been following along, this is a spoiler-free review of the book.
This book was the first time that I’ve read any of Gaiman’s work. I think that it’s a nice way of being introduced to him, as it allows the reader to experience a great variety of his stories and poems, which range in tone from being lighthearted and whimsical to focusing on darker adult themes. As it’s hard to give an overall synopsis of a collection of short stories, I’m going to go over some of the highlights of the collection.
“The Problem With Susan” – This was a short story that answered the question of what happened to Susan from C. S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” after he abruptly cut her out of the story for being interested in boys and makeup.
“October in the Chair” – In this story, the months of the year are personified and sitting around a campfire. October tells an eerie ghost story.
“The Monarch of the Glen” – The longest piece in the collection, this novella is set in Gaiman’s American Gods universe. It tells the story of a character named Shadow as he visits Scotland. It’s got Viking/Beowulf mythology, which was pretty neat.
“The Day the Saucers Came” – This poem was an awesome nerd-out. It made me happy.
“Locks” – A poem about a father telling his child about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
These are just a few of the selections in the book that stood out to me. There are many more interesting stories, as well as the handful of stories that I didn’t care for. As a whole, the stories tend to be well-written and cast an interesting perspective on mythology, legends, and fairy tales, as well as day to day life. These stories are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee on lazy autumn mornings.