Thursday, March 5, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Lottery And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

This is a book review for The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. I read this for Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. I also read it for my Banned Book Challenge.

The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. "Power and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery:" with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jack son's remarkable range--from the hilarious to the truly horrible--and power as a storyteller.

So here's the thing: I had no clue that Shirley Jackson wrote any other short stories beyond The Lottery. I hadn't read that one since high school and it is just as creepy as ever. Going into this book, I thought that many of the stories would follow a similar haunting, creepy theme. Boy was I wrong . . . but in a very good way. These stories were all so different. Some were funny, some moving and some were confusing.

One of my favorites was The Daemon Lover, where Jamie searches fruitlessly for her boyfriend who was supposed to meet her at her apartment so they could run away and get married. There was sadness in Trial by Combat, where Emily suspected an old woman in her boarding house of breaking into her room and stealing from her. I laughed reading My Life With R.H. Macy, in which a young woman describes her one day working at Macy's. I have worked retail before so I related to the main character's feeling that she wasn't even a person, just another employee number. I was angry while reading Flower Garden and felt sorry for Mrs MacLane, whose neighbors turned against her after she hired a black woman to work on her garden. Those were just a few of the stories in this collection. There are twenty five short stories and I enjoyed them all, though The Lottery still remains my favorite. The only thing I disliked about the collection was that some of the stories were too short. But I guess that is why they call it a short story, right? In some of the stories, the length prevented as much character development as I liked. Due to the length and the ambiguousness of some of the endings, it was left up to the reader's imagination to determine the characters' motives. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: If you enjoy short stories and you enjoy Shirley Jackson's work, I recommend Buy! 

10 comments :

  1. A comprehensive and intriguing review. Great incentive toward buying this and giving it a try. Thanks :)

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    1. Thanks so much Ramona! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  2. I've been wanting to get this collection! I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but I think I can make an exception for Shirley Jackson.

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    1. bookshelffantasies, I am the same way. I much prefer novels to short stories. But Shirley Jackson is such a great writer.

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  3. The Lottery is such a classic, sounds like this is a great collection of more of her great stuff :)

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    1. Julie, yes it really is! It's amazing.

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  4. I really should try reading short stories anthology. I've never heard of Shirley Jackson, or the book, The Lottery. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

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    1. No problem Joyous Reads! The Lottery was such an amazing story. And her other stuff was good as well. I don't usually read short stories, but this collection was wonderful.

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  5. It's been years since I've thought about "The Lottery." I'm glad you put it back on my radar!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Thanks Nicole! Her other stories are just as good!

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