I have decided, for the time being, that I really enjoy Neil Gaiman in small doses. I really love his work for children, and while I’ve enjoyed some of his adult books, mostly I find them too much for me. So, a collection of short stories and poems seemed just my speed: Gaiman’s trademark oddness in bite-size doses.
Fragile Things is a collection of some fascinating, some entertaining, some disturbing Gaiman stories. I didn’t love them all, but the ones I liked, I really liked.
There were a few that absolutely stood out: “A Study in Emerald,” his take on a Sherlock Holmes story which is weird and wild, and has an absolutely brilliant twist at the end. “October in the Chair,” a delightful story personalizing the months of the year and their gathering where they each take turns telling one story, and the story that October tells. “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” which is a mundane awkward boy party until you realize that they crashed a party of alien girls. “Sunbird,” which is about an epicurean club who have basically tried eating everything there is to eat. Except for the sunbird, which they set off to do, not heeding the consequences. And, my favorite: the poem “Instructions,” which is one of my favorite picture books.
Sure, there were some missteps — I had huge issues with what he did with Narnia in “The Problem of Susan,” and there were a couple of stories in which the sex just felt gratuitous, and highly unnecessary — but those were easy to skip, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Rated: High for many instances of swearing, including the f-word in several of the stories; and some explicit sex in two of the stories.