Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review: Appearances and Other Stories by Margo Krasne

This book was given to us by Virtual Author Book Tours for our fair and honest review,

Appearances and Other Stories Steph's Rating: 4 stars
Overall Rating: 4 stars

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Wasteland Press
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Pages: 160

Goodreads Synopsis:
In this debut collection, Krasne wields insightful irony and cathartic black humor to illuminate her themes of loss, yearning and survival, bringing to it a biting female perspective. An adept stylist with an ear for dialogue and an eye for personal foibles, Krasne cleverly captures the distinct voices of her characters as they strive to negotiate the subtle and not-so-subtle minefields of family obligation and personal conflict. She has a knack for getting inside her characters' heads as they strive to keep up appearances. Readers will most surely recognize themselves, their friends and family members in all of these beautifully rendered stories.

Steph's Review:

Appearances is collection of short stories, split into two halves of the book. The first half is about The Wallach family, and the second half about "the other stories". This was very delightfully written, and quite realistic.

The Wallachs stories focus in on our main character Alice. Though they are short stories, each one overlaps with each other and are basically chapter tidbits of Alice's life. She comes from what I suppose you could call an aristocratic family in New York. In my opinion, the word that describes her family which came into my mind after reading just the first few stories is dysfunctional. Her mother cares way too much about her appearance to society, manners, and cruising the mainstream. In one story, Alice's mother basically tries to play matchmaker for Alice, but she doesn't take into account what type Alice likes. All she cared about was what connections it would make for her own family. 

Alice is pretty shy in comparison, and the stories were just heartfelt because you feel so bad for her sometimes and you wish you could just jump into the story and help her. She's the timid type, and I could sympathize with her so much in this book. Alice is a thinker, but she sometimes has a hard time speaking her mind. Sometimes I have the same problem. When she disagrees with her sister, her father, or her mother, she just can't say a thing and just takes it all onto her shoulders. Some of these stories are told from an older Alice looking back into teenage years, so you can even get some commentary from Alice thinking back on how she acted. Krasne really made me hate Alice's mother and father, but that is a good thing! It shows her skill with weaving words together--she can pull such strong emotions from you in just a few pages!

I'm not going to go into each story because they are all pretty short and I know I would be spoiling something if I talked about all of them. However, I feel that Appearances is very much like a copy of Chicken Soup for teenagers and adults. I've read Chicken Soup a few times and the stories aren't always the happiest ones, but they are usually able to somehow cheer you up. Krasne's stories are very much like that. There are ironic twists all over in her stories and her endings aren't always the Happily Ever After kind. The whole book itself is like a piece of irony, because it isn't PNR, not really suspenseful, but still is able to draw you in just like any good book can. Still, it leaves you with a feeling of appreciation for your own family, because I would never want to be involved in the crazy antics of Alice's. I felt Krasne's stories were quite clever, because she was able to turn many trivial, everyday problems into stories that can just engross you (well, they might not be everyday for an average person, but Alice is a high class woman living in the heart of New York). I always found myself wanting to find out more on what was happening in Alice's life, until there were no more stories left in the collection.

This is definitely a family-type book that you can read together with another person! A wonderful debut novel by Margo Krasne that is well-rounded and written for everyone to enjoy! 

About Margo Krasne:

Margo Krasne, born and raised in Manhattan, has always led two lives. As a radio advertising producer, she sculpted; as a sculptor, she was an extra in commercials, and for the past 24 years, as a communications coach and author of Say it with Confidence, she writes fiction whenever possible.

Margo Krasne on Facebook:!/pages/Margo-Krasne-Author/377090689031636?fref=ts

Buy Appearances and Other Short Stories at:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

We will be hosting a giveaway of this novel tomorrow (March 8th)! Be sure to check back and enter!

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