I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Edge: Collected Stories by M.E. Kerr
Published by Open Road Media Teen & Tween on September 15 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
These 15 short stories by a writer the New York Times Book Review has called “one of the grand masters of young adult fiction” capture our fears, yearnings, loneliness, self-doubts, and universal need for love and acceptance.
M. E. Kerr’s pioneering young adult literature has gained a devoted following for fearlessly breaking rules and confronting conformity. In Edge, her trademark gifts of pulling apart relationships, exposing real emotion, and conveying what it means to grow up are on full display. From handling a teenage girl’s coming out in “We Might as Well All Be Strangers” to asking philosophical questions about God, life, and death in “The Sweet Perfume of Goodbye” to parodying social norms in “Do You Want My Opinion?,” this is a funny, moving, and brave anthology about faith, friendship, family ties, prom night, an unusual act of heroism, and staying true to yourself.
I often have difficulty with reading short stories, especially when they are gathered together in an anthology. I like my fiction meaty; massive tomes are my bread and butter. Taking this into account, I may not be the best fit for this particular book.
I was approached by the publisher to read and review this collection of stories by M.E. Kerr, an author whose early works were considered ground-breaking for tackling themes such as homosexuality and racism. I was keen to read this because I have wanted to read her output for some time. I really enjoy reading earlier published novels that deal with hard-hitting subjects, Happy Endings are all Alike by Sandra Scoppettone is a particular favourite.
In total there are 15 stories, covering a wide variety of themes. All were very well-written (though a little dated) but not all of them held my attention which was mainly due to there just not being enough content. Some stories did not particularly need to be expanded upon but there were a couple I would have loved to have been just a little bit longer, perhaps even novel length.
My favourite story by far was I Will Not Think of Maine. This story drew me in right away and kept me guessing throughout. It had a touch of the whimsical about it, it was both haunting and melancholic. I wanted more but was more than content with what I got.
We Might as Well All Be Strangers was another highlight for me. In it, a young girl has to come to terms that her grandmother is more accepting of her sexuality than her own mother. Juxtaposed with the girl’s situation is her grandmother’s history of being a survivor of the holocaust. The story was very poignant and managed to feel just as relevant today as when it was first written.
The rest of the stories were certainly enjoyable but there was too little content for me to get excited about. They suffered the same fate as most short stories do with me – I would just be getting interested and involved with the plot and the characters when suddenly it would all be over and I was left feeling less than satiated. Which was a shame, because the writing was excellent and the tone engaging.
This book was a little unsatisfying for me in that it didn’t capture me the way I hoped it would. It did however, leave me with a thirst to read more of M.E. Kerr’s writing (full length novels at any rate)… and I’ve just noticed that this entire review has a ton of food and drink related references/metaphors… guess I must be hungry for something!!
Overall, this was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading the majority of the stories and would recommend it but I did have a few reservations and I think some would have issues with the fact that the individual stories were just too darn short.