Monday, June 13, 2016

Insurrections: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott- Book Review

I received this ebook for free from Edelweiss for review purposes. I do not have to give a positive review, but do have to notify the reader how I received the book.

When I started Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott, I didn't enjoy it. The first short story was so strange- a man is rescued from attempting suicide by his neighbors. As their relationship grows, the man invites the neighbors to his child's birthday party where he has spent all his money on a Cookie Monster costume that smelled like it came from the dump to make his child happy. The kids run due to the smell and the man is left saddened. The neighbor returns with the Cookie Monster head, listening to the laughter from above, but expecting he would find his neighbor hanging, except this time dead.

I shared the whole story because this is the tone of this book.

The stories are not happy stories. There are not happy endings. This isn't about happy endings though and that is when I got it!

Many times, collections of short stories are named for one of the stories contained within the book. In the case of this book, Insurrections is the title because each story takes place in Cross River, Maryland and deal with the lives of the African American residents that reside within. Each is battling to overcome something- a man who keeps getting mistaken for  his drug addicted brother and decides to try to rescue him, a girl who is beaten in chess by her father who claims to be the best chess player in the world until he is beaten in chess by the park expert, or a student who ruins his teacher's life and has to deal with the consequences. All the stories are about overcoming something and sometimes realizing there is a ceiling holding you down.

These are powerful stories of trying to overcome the odds when the odds are so stacked against you. Sometimes the odds are overcome only to learn that there isn't much hope. As stated, this isn't a book with a lot of happy endings.

Scott's writing just flows and is very poetic. He changes his style through the stories to give voice to his characters. I sometimes forgot I was reading the stories of one author. With that written, like many short story collections, there are ones that will connect and others that just will not. I went back to re-read the first story and it still wasn't my favorite of the collection. Neither was A Friendly Game. The three-202 Checkmates, Juba, and The Legend of Ezekiel Marcus really were touching in their own way, but still heartbreaking. I really enjoyed 202 Checkmates for some reason.

As written, this is not a pick to pick up to make you feel good, but it is a group of stories that need to be told. I am currently reading Homegoing and The Underground Railroad, so this book fit right into place of what I am currently reading as a different side to the same story.

I gave this one a solid 4 stars.

Here is the Amazon link- Insurrections: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott and will be released August 5, 2016

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