sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #49: The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers
“From the master storyteller, Aidan Chambers, comes a collection of Stories of Defiance – moments in life, realisations, insights and sudden revelations. Mixed with longer stories are some ‘Flash Fictions’ – very short but complete stories that reveal, as in a flash of light, a moment of awkward truth in the life of their characters. Prepare to be amazed, enchanted and to gasp with shock. In ‘Kangaroo’, a girl loses her humanity when she takes an unusual summer job. In ‘The Tower’, a boy rescues a girl from a fiery death, only to have her disappear. And in the unforgettable title story, a seemingly innocent game between a boy and a girl takes a horrific turn. Once again Chambers treats his readers to his intelligent prose, playfulness of form and incisive understanding of the wonderings of young people on the verge of adulthood.”
It’s difficult to review a book of short stories as they are obviously varied and different, these particularly so. Chambers tries a variety of different style, ideas and tones throughout the book so it is pretty much impossible to characterise the whole book in a few words. I found many of these very effective, especially the modern retellings of fairy tales and the titular The Kissing Game is particularly powerful. Some of them fell a bit short for me though and elements didn’t quite feel authentic. Nonetheless, I enjoy it when authors play with language and form and I also like it when teenage authors don’t patronise their readers so all in all, this is definitely a success in my book. Also, I love Aidan Chambers – I’ve heard him speak at several library conferences and the man is inspiring!
First Line: “Enough! She said to herself.”
Why I read it/Full Disclosure: The author bought a copy of this book for me.
Who I would recommend it to: If you enjoy authors playing with what fiction is, trying new versions of old stories or just trying new things.