Earlier this week Jim got in touch to let me know about his fab new feature, Shorts on Sunday, and as I just finished reading the I’ll Be Home For Christmas short story collection I thought I would join in!
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Jim’s already covered ‘Homo for Christmas’, Juno Dawson’s short story, which I also loved, because not only is it very sweet and heartwarming, but it is also a great example of a unique narrator’s voice – his accent and idiosyncrasies come across in the language and the form of the story. This is something I aim for when I’m writing so I love to find good examples of it to inspire me!
I had another two favourite stories in this collection. Firstly I’ll talk about ‘Family You Choose’ by Cat Clarke, narrated by a girl who goes to a dinner party hosted by the mums of a boy at school. She doesn’t really know him, and as she tells us about the party we learn that she’s gone to get away from her own mum. I’m recommending this story because although it’s very short, the author conjures up the atmosphere of the party quickly and the characterisation is so good that I felt like I knew the characters deeply after only a couple of pages in their company. Plus, I really wanted to be able to go to the party myself!
The other story in this collection that left the strongest impression on me is ‘Routes and Wings’, by Lisa Williamson, about a homeless girl and how she spends a night before Christmas. I recommend this story because the author interviewed Crisis members as part of her research for the story and that has given it realistic detail and depth. It also features some wonderfully vivid descriptions and the hints at Lauren’s backstory are perfect – they give us all the detail we need without overwhelming the scenes in the present.
There are a few days left of this Christmas, plus there’s always next year, so I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of this anthology. Not only is it is a great read but at least £1 from the sale of every copy will go directly to Crisis.
There we go! I’m going to try and join in every week but I can’t promise to feature more than one story each time, I’m a way slower reader than Jim, plus I’m busy working on my own YA short story collection!