Monday, April 6, 2009

Review: Down To A Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese

Paperback: 148 pages
Publisher: Wheatmark (November 15, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1587367335
Genre: Short Stories
Rating: 2/5

Down to a Sunless Sea plunges the reader into uncomfortable situations and into the minds of troubled characters. Each selection is a different reading experience-poetic, journalistic, nostalgic, wryly humorous, and even macabre. An award-winning essayist and historical novelist, Mathias B. Freese brings the weight of his twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist into play as he demonstrates a vivid understanding of-and compassion toward-the deviant and damaged.

I finished this book quite a while ago and have been letting it roll around in my head before I wrote my review. I thought with some more time, maybe the book would grow on me, but I have come to realize this one just wasn't for me.

There were a couple of stories that I really did like, but the majority didn't appeal to me. My favorite story was I'll Make It, I Think. It is the story of a young man who is physically disabled. You get a glimpse into his life and mind, and what you see isn't always pretty. He is angry and sometimes unhappy, but the story is unflinchingly honest.

I also enjoyed Little Errands a lot. It is a stream of consciousness type story and I really related to it. I occasionally have days when I feel like I am always second guessing myself and feel ragged and run down, like the character in the story.

I didn't really connect to the characters in the other stories though. It wasn't the writing, but more the feeling that I just didn't have anything in common with them. These stories are very short, sometimes only a few pages. I usually like my short stories to be a little longer so that I am able to get a sense of the character before moving on to the next story.

This collection has gotten really good reviews both on Amazon and from other bloggers though, so I will leave you with a couple of those reviews for a different viewpoint.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This is one I had on my list Melissa. Thanks for your honest review.

Lenore Appelhans said...

It has also gotten some really bad reviews - so don't kick yourself for not liking it :)

Literary Feline said...

Yes, as Lenore said, this collection is all over the spectrum in regards to those who liked and disliked it. I am one of those who really liked it, but I do understand why the stories don't appeal to everyone.

Zibilee said...

Sorry this one wasn't a winner with you.

Anna said...

Sorry this one disappointed you. I had a hard time with these stories, too, though I liked "Little Errands." My review is here:

Diary of an Eccentric