The reason that this is posted on Sunday is the fact that the story has just been released! If you do not feel like reading the review, it is a 5/5 and I strongly recommend that you buy it. You will not regret it.
The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to pluck from the world of the living. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the natural order of life and death to which he is bound. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.
Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?
Chris Sarantopoulos once again shows us that he is an absolute master of short stories. I will try my best to keep it spoiler free, as I really do not want to ruin it for anyone.
We are placed in the story right when everyone is gathering at Stella’s house, due to her mother passing away. Stella, being only 4 years old, is already a hint that this story will explore the darkest places in our hearts and minds. And it does. There is sadness that Stella does not understand, she is too young to grasp the fact that her mother will not return, and although she was told by her mother that they will meet again, she does not fully understand that either. She takes it for granted, but does not know that she too would have to die, for that to happen. She tries to explain to her father that they will see her again, At Horizon’s End (an expression her mother used), but as you would imagine, he is way too sad and way too disconnected and, just like everyone else, only manages a smile and a hug for Stella.
The story actually switches between Stella and The Man Who Fed On Tears. Let us talk about him, as he is the main reason for the story that is unfolding. The author gave him that name because, I believe, he did not want to influence your thoughts, and did not want to put religion into the story. I will do it, however, as I will be able to present him better with something you are all very familiar with. The Man Who Fed On Tears in religious sense would be described as a demon. Everyone knows that demons are known to feed on one’s negative thoughts and preferably get them stuck in a loop of negative emotions. That gives them the energy to “exist”, and that is exactly the reason that he is described as the man who feeds on tears, or rather, negative emotions, which sadness definitely is. There is a catch. If you do not let them feed on your negative emotions, as you only display positive ones, then there is no reason for them to exist. And this is when Stella comes into action. Everyone in the house is feeding The Man, but not Stella. She does not have any negativity around her, as she is, in her pure child’s mind, completely sure that she will be able to see her mother again one day. This leaves The Man dumbfounded, as he is not used to that kind of energy, especially on such occasion. Now let me just say this, The Man also plays the role of a Grim Reaper, but not the cartoonish idea or whatever. He is the reason for her mother’s death, he is the one that took her away, so he could feed himself. Now, again, if we follow it through spiritual explanation, we know that evil entities are not dumb. We know that they show great capabilities of thought. And this is also what happens in the story. The Man, amazed that Stella is handling the situation like she is, gets into a moral struggle, whether he did the right thing by taking her mother away from her or not.
And this is the point where I stop. What arrives after this point is the conclusion to the story that would spoil it for everyone, so I will not go any further.
As you can see, you cannot explain this story or take anything from it word for word, because it is not meant to be read like that. It is meant to make you think and incorporate your own knowledge and your own beliefs into the story, and the story suddenly becomes unique to you. I could go on and on, and explain every single paragraph, but I do not want to write an essay and bore you guys to death. With that said…
Book recommendation: 5/5
You’re Not Dead chronicles its Hero’s travels during his ten-month hospitalization, beginning with his viral meningoencephalitis, and ending with his struggle to regain his life and independence. Acerbic and illuminating, You’re Not Dead pulls the reader into the Hero’s lived experience, while peeling away the layers of politeness we often use when discussing disability. The Hero is brutally honest as he writes of his journey through the medical system. He speaks of overwhelming pessimism, of pronouncements from “on high” made with little knowledge of his condition or progress, and of being spoken at, rather than being spoken to. You’re Not Dead is both devastating and inspiring, highlighting the importance of perseverance in the face of profound adversity.
This book tells the life story of the author, through the eyes of his character named Hero. It is a story that is written in the minds and hearts of people we usually tend to overlook.
It is a very simple read. There are no complex terms, no bullshitting around. Just descriptions of what we could name “life after death”. Do not expect it to be fueled with action and whatnot, because it is not. You may all now be thinking: “Well, that sounds boring.”. And maybe you are right, but it depends on where you stand in life, where your viewpoint lays. If you want to read this story because you do not have anything else to do, and want to shorten your free time with something, then this story will be a drag and nothing special. If you, however, want to read the story, because you want to know what is going on in the head of someone whose life changed in the flicker of the light, then this is a story for you.
Now, while the process and time-lapse is done well enough, I personally missed more dialog and humor. The author describes what he was told that happened, or how he met new friends, but there is no back story to that, no anecdotes. Well, there are some, but the author did not go into details, and just stated that as a fact, but I believe that something like that was needed to keep the reader from getting bored. There was some humor, do not get me wrong, but I felt like it needed more.
Same with the dialogs that I mentioned. The author keeps telling us, how others told him what happened, but never provides a dialog. I know that things like that are hard to remember, but as a reader I want to be engaged. I want to see the situation unravel in my own mind. There was not enough of this, but again, do not get me wrong, there was some, and that some was done brilliantly. For example, the point when that doctor told our Hero that he will never walk again. I wanted to punch her in the face so bad that you cannot even imagine. And knowing that it is actually a true story made me feel even angrier. A story like this needs as much emotion as we can get, and I feel like there was not enough of that.
Another great point was that we were able to see the struggle. Not just the physical struggle, but the mental struggle too. And I must take my hat off to the author, because there was not a single time in the book that he would pity himself for being in his situation. No matter the falls, he just held his head up high and did not just pass his obstacles but destroyed them. Proving everyone wrong along the way.
I will pick this book up again and again, whenever I feel like MY life is bad. If nothing else, the book title will always stay with me. You’re not dead, Hero. Thank you.
Book recommendation: 7,5/10
The past never really stays hidden or forgotten. Ben Stingler left his past for a quiet life, until a young man steps in his bar, and brings with him all the things Ben tried to put behind him five years ago. An overdue debt is back on the table.
Since this is a short story, I will use the material from the book to write my review. So I will write *SPOILER ALERT* before and after the sentence(s) that spoil(s) the book, so you can skip it.
Short stories are overflowing the market today. And you know what they say about quality over quantity. But I will not go into this today, I will save it for next week. A short story is supposed to be a story that delivers with a bang. That means that it has to reach the climax in a matter of pages, and very few, believe it or not, actually manage that. This one does.
We are put in a bar and follow the first-person story of Phil Harrisson, also known as Ben Stingler. When a strange, dangerous man enters the bar, Phil’s story starts to unravel. We learn, that a few years back, he was a professional hitman, who now want to live a normal, happy life and has managed so for the past few years. Apart from the fact that he stole a couple million dollars in some job this is all that we know about our main character. But then again, we do not need to know much more. The point here is that it is written in a way, that you could only guess what else this character has done before, and that leaves us with a taste of mystery that we will never solve.
The man who entered the bar was sent there to kill him, which our character guessed from the minute the guy walked in. They have a conversation in which our character reveals what he did and how he stole the money and so on and so forth. At this time, we also have an insight inside his head, where he is thinking about how to kill the man sitting at his bar, with the shotgun that is under the bar. He manages to do that, as we would expect, but the description of the kill that the author provides is something I believe I have never read before. He does not say: “I took the gun and boom, he was gone.” like 90% of the stories nowadays do. He… No, I will not go into detail, this description alone is worth of buying the kindle edition, so do it. For comparison, those of you who are familiar with Harry Potter books. Remember the death of Sirius Black? How it was described? Well that right there is similar here, but not the same, of course.
I spoke about climax before, but this story actually does not reach the climax until the last page. It reaches it there and leaves us hanging, thinking about what happened next. At the same time only giving us just the right amount of information in which the story could unfold in both ways and that right there is absolutely perfect for a short story.
I think the author should write more short stories like this and compile them into a book and release that.
Since this is the first short story that I reviewed on its own, I will grade it from 1 to 5, as with all the other short stories that I may review in the future. This is because of the fact, that you really do not need that much space to maneuver. A short story is either great, good or bad. There is no philosophy here.
With that said, my short story recommendation is: 5 out of 5, absolutely spot on. This short story is what every short story hopes to be.
This right here is the best gift I can ever receive. There is not enough money in the world that could outweigh the feeling of helping someone and making someone happy. I want to continue that and share her blog with you guys. Go there and show her some love! We have been talking for the past few days and she is for sure one of the most down to earth people you will ever have a chance to meet/read.
Monsters are real…
The scariest monsters that exist are the ones that lurk within our souls. They live inside all of us, and sometimes- they win. The strongest of people are the ones that have a command over their monsters.
I put this topic off a really long time and felt like there is no reason to blog about it. But the ”behind” story of this kept lingering around my brain and I had to get it out somehow. Because, all it gave me was many sleepless nights.
The truth is, I have seen this ”monster”. I have felt its presence. I have been touched by it. And eventually, it killed me. Beauty is a curse on the world. It keeps us from seeing who the real monsters are. The world is full of monsters with friendly faces.
Every monster you have met or will ever meet was once a…
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I still have not read the Haunting of Hill House. Yay! On serious note, I am still feeling like shit, so I am really not into reading this kind of stuff at the moment. I need some books to put me in good mood so I decided to go back to the roots and read… *drum roll* Household Tales by Brothers Grimm!
I know the well-known tales from them (who does not, right?) and those are quite nice. Imagine my surprise when I read some quite scary ones. Hanging bodies, killing people and decapitating your children’s heads in a book that produced so many children tales? 10/10, would read to my children. No wonder our generations are so soulless, we were forced to listen to this kind of poop.
Jokes aside, it is a nice collection and I recommend it to all of those interested in tales. It is a classic for a reason.
Other than that, I have not been up to much this week, so I am cutting this one short. If you have any recommendations for any books that could put me in good mood, please leave a comment. I will appreciate it.