Thursday, July 19, 2018

Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson Review

Title: Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings
Author: Shirley Jackson
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Anthology
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Shirley Jackson is a name that is synonymous with titan, god, or witch, in my opinion, and to be honest, the short story ‘The Lottery’, prior to this point, way back in high school, and it’s left an indelible mark on my mind. Let Me Tell You has been sitting in my stack for a while now, and when I realized that it went back to the library this week, I immediately began after I was finished with Reign the Earth, and I was absolutely blown away. A collection of unpublished work, complied by Jackson’s children, Let Me Tell You was amazing, one of the best works I’ve read in a long time, and I will never forget it. It was like finding a massive wellspring of inspiration and knowledge; Jackson, to this day, is known as one of the best American storytellers of all time, and I can’t wait to dive into more of her work when I have the time. I really feel like I’ve found a new inspiration, someone new to look up to, and I’m so inspired!

This book just contains far too many pieces to be reviewed individually, so I’ll just give the book an overall rating. Consisting of short stories, drawings, humorous pieces about life and family, and advice on the craft of writing, I was captivated by this book; there wasn’t a piece that I didn’t love or didn’t inspire me in some way. I was only sad that there wasn’t more. This was an obvious labor of love from children to their mother, and I was greatly touched by the time and efforts that her children put forth in order to put their beloved mother’s work out in the world, where people could read it.

This book also had great range: no piece was quite like the other, and if I wasn’t laughing, gasping, or crying, I was amazed just by the sheer skill that Jackson poured into her work, especially when I realized just how much she had to do when she wasn’t sitting in the study, clacking away at the typewriter. This book has everything: tales of lost love, affairs, supernatural stories, suspense that had me screaming or jumping at every loud noise, anxious and paranoid, stories that hinted at magic and things that hid in the shadows. But her nonfiction was just as compelling, giving depth on her family life and how she balanced it and her passion for writing. It’s really hard to pick a favorite in this volume; it was all so good! I devoured these stories like a junkie, and I can’t wait to find more of her stories and novels! I feel like I’ve found a gold mine that I was blind to before; I’m totally blown away by Shirley Jackson’s work, and I can see why her work still endures today; her voice is timeless. This book is essential to a Jackson fan, whether they’re familiar to her work or not. Easily one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I can’t wait to explore more of Jackson’s delicious, chills-inducing prose. Absolutely beautiful. The bottom line: An intense, beautiful labor of love from a writer’s children to their slightly wacky, hilarious mother, I loved Let Me Tell You! One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year! Next on deck: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir!

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