MINI SPOILER FILLED REVIEW
THE FALL is a short story narrated by a middle-aged man who received a call from an old friend saying how their middle school/high school friend has passed. This accounts for around 10% of the story, the rest being a flashback.
My main problem with THE FALL is there isn’t really a central plot, it’s just a seemingly random and uneventful few weeks in this guy’s life. These weeks supposedly changed his life forever but from what I can see, there are no life changing moments in THE FALL.
I’ve read some really amazing short stories in which the world building, plot, and characters were well defined and beautiful. As a consequence, I have started to expect only the best from my short stories. This one however broke that streak with its utterly terrible prose and story.
What really made THE FALL the worst short I’ve read is the lack of finesse to it. The writing felt like a really bad 6th grader’s homework assignment. It was choppy, bland, and forced. I’m just glad that there were only around 100 – 150 pages otherwise I would have DNF’ed it.
The blurb promises a “dark and rebellious read” but in fact, there was nothing neither dark nor rebellious about this book. The plot was uneventful and basically revolved around how amazing this one guy, Chris is. There are around two chapters that are solely devoted to how everyone worships Chris.
After those few chapters, we get to see how the main character, who’s name I am uncertain of (Mog I think), does everything for Chris and even though Chris is rude to him, they’re besets buds forever. Erm, okay then. The other chapters are about how Chris really wants to pick up his big brother’s crossbow and for a few chapters, they’re just debating whether or not to pick it up. In the end, they decide to go out to the woods with the crossbow and Mog accidentally kills a fox. The end.
… oook then. In the epilogue, it is stated that killing the fox ruined Mog’s life forever but how? How did any of the events in the story ruin his life? They’re not life-ruining things! He killed a fox. That’s sad and all but does killing a fox ruin your life? In any way? Nope, not really.
The characters were undefined blobs really. I couldn’t tell the difference between them. There’s the popular-not-popular kid and then a bunch on nobodies with no personality or defining qualities.
Yes, I understand that in 150 pages (or so), it’s hard to define your characters but um, how do lower MG books do it? Or other short stories? It is possible to have a short story with well-rounded characters.
The writing was simplistic to an extent that it was basically “Bob walked down the stairs. Bob said hi. Bob walked away.” That’s really how it felt but it in the short, it was more like: “Bob walked down the stairs. Bob said “Hey!” Bob walked away.
I wouldn’t recommend this short story to anyone because it’s physically painful to read. I can’t really recommend any other shorts at this reading level but definitely not this one.