Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Book Review: Sweet Violent Femmes, by Holly M. Kothe (Short Story Collection)

I just finished reading Sweet Violent Femmes, a short story collection by Holly M. Kothe, an indie author. There are four stories in the collection and they each share a common theme, which the title alludes to, though the stories and characters themselves are quite different aside from said shared theme. Overall, I enjoyed the read, but while each story was well-written, I felt that the last two stories were the strongest, though the first would have been very strong if one little thing had been added in my view.

First up, there’s The Glass Room. It’s a story set in Paris and without going into spoiler territory, it’s essentially one continuous scene where girls are assembled in a glass room, while clients view them and then pay the owners of the establishment to be ‘serviced’. As you can imagine, the story touches on what it’s like to be in that line of business, with the emphasis on what might be felt if they’re abused at the hands of the clients. I liked the emphasis on how greed can affect people and how the rich can get away with things because . . . well, they have money. It’s true to life, sadly.

For me, the reason it’s not as strong as it could be is because there was only really a sentence or two that explained how the main character ended up working in the place. You can draw your own conclusions easily enough. The ending to the story is quite well deserved too.

The next story, Tethered, was not really for me unfortunately. That’s not the story’s fault. Basically, it’s a surreal story with a supernatural element where a woman tries to piece together what happened to her. I can’t really give more details than that sadly, with it being the type of story that’s quite easy to spoil. Again though, it did end on a good note.

Seeing Black, the third story, was really quite good. The only downside for me was that when a particular character was mentioned, it was pretty obvious what would happen. It was just the ‘how’ that was in question. The story itself is about an emotionally damaged woman who’s trying to cope with a breakup that has scarred her. I won’t get into further details than that.

The final story, Feminist Theory, didn’t have the same problem. It kept me guessing right to the end as to who would be on the main character’s hit list. Actually, that’s incorrect. Essentially, the story is about the interaction between a doctor and his ‘patient’. Obviously, the greater story is unravelled through the narrative. That’s just the basics. I knew the doctor was the one on the main character’s hit list, but I didn’t know why until the end, nor did I know who he actually was (in terms of the story that the main character tells the doctor). I rather enjoyed this one at any rate.

Overall, all of the stories were well-written as to be expected from Holly, because I’d previously read one of her short stories published online. They all share the common theme of females getting vengeance on males who’ve wronged them and in closing, I would definitely recommend that people give the stories a try. The only thing is that the stories are definitely not suitable for children etc. and some adults might balk at the content as well. Let’s just say that no punches are pulled, which is how it should be when telling the sort of stories that these are, as you need represent the situations accurately for them to have the necessary impact. 

The story can be found here:

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