"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
It's pretty much universally agreed that Neil Gaiman is a phenomenal writer, so I was surprised that this collection of short stories did not impress me much.
Short story anthologies are usually a pretty mixed bag, but I expected consistently high quality when they were all written by the same person. And while all the stories were well written with Neil's typical (sometimes dark) whimsy, I found my mind wandering far more often than I would expect. I just didn't get invested in a lot of the stories -- "How to Sell the Ponty Bridge" or the opening story, "The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds" did absolutely nothing for me, despite the latter being something of a retelling. "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" is the only story I truly LOVED, while all the rest fell somewhere in between.
I also didn't feel the stories were well suited to their intended audience of kids "ages 10 and up." While some of them might have been written with kids in mind, many of them were obviously just repackaged, some almost inappropriately so. A few of the stories had a cynicism and sexual explicitness that I think makes 12 a more appropriate "minimum age" for the anthology, which is somewhat disjointed from the cutesy, child-friendly cover.