Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: "Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever" by Justin Taylor

While I at first gave this book the rare and illustrious one star rating, I had to change it to two stars, cause while it is not very good, really at all, it wasn’t offensive in any kind of way. It simply slipped away from my wet brain soon after I put the book down. For all my coming gripes, it is no way as bad as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or Noughties, thank God. But having said that, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever by Justin Taylor may be the worst short story collection I have ever read. Nary is there a winner in any of these half-baked flash tales. Although flash is a good word for them, because any strength they have or power to make you think lasts about as long as a muscle spasm. When I say none of these are any good, I really mean none. In fact anytime any story seems like it is going somewhere cool, Taylor literally takes the story in an aggressively wrong direction. For instance, in the story “The New Life”, about a kid’s crush on his friends sister leading to a dangerous brush with witchcraft, has something of a cool premise that could be used as a great jumping off point, if someone as astute as Joe Hill or Wells Tower were writing it. Hell, even Karen Russell, whose short stories I find leaving something to be desired, would do great things with these. Instead, Taylor simply bows down to the Barthelme God, giving us nothing we want and everything he wants. Through every story in this collection, Taylor is simply out to please himself, without any regard if his stories are any good or if the reader gets anything out of it. But this is a mostly harmless little book; unless you don’t have the time I do over summer break.
Rating: 2/5

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