Review: Tenth of December
I’ve been reading a lot about Tenth of December, a short story collection by George Saunders, so I decided to pick it up to see what all the fuss was about. I went into the book with pretty high expectations and, as I started it, I wondered why everyone was raving about it. The first stories in the book were good, but I wasn’t sure I really “got” them. Then I got to Home, the story of a veteran, and the family he returned to, and I knew why people are talking about this book. I freely admit that I don’t feel qualified to review this book but will gladly share my thoughts.
The stories in Tenth of December are dark and desperate, yet full of longing and hope. They feature people doing their best, struggling to get by. In other words, they’re full of characters people can relate to. Of course, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. My favorites were
- Home – In this story, a young veteran returns home and tries to fit in. He’s struggling to make sense of things and finds his family has struggles of its own.
- Tenth of December – A man fighting cancer wonders if life is worth living and encounters a young boy who doesn’t quite fit in.
As I finished these stories, I sat and reflected on them. They made me think and even made me a little uncomfortable, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’re the kind of stories that beg to be talked about so this book would be a great choice for book clubs.
While I didn’t love every story in Tenth of December, and I may not have understood all of them, I appreciated what Saunders was trying to do. If you enjoy literary fiction, you won’t want to miss this short story collection.