REVIEW: I Do, Anthology
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I think I’ve mentioned before that anthologies usually make me twitch. I know I’m usually looking at a few great stories, some good ones, a few ‘meh’ ones and a couple that make me shudder. Depending on how many are in the collection. It’s rare that I read an entire anthology. It’s even rarer when every one of the entries is good. Congratulations.
I won’t discuss every story – for that I’ll say people should check out Elisa Rolle’s review – but I will talk about why I like them. Because the writing is good, the characters are people I could walk down the street and see at any street corner. Okay, maybe not the historical molly house party goers, the men in the French Foreign Legion or the Prince from the fairy tale but most of the rest are just ordinary people, living their lives, trying to do what we all attempt in life.
Some have found that special someone and have relationships that have lasted for years or mere days. Others are still searching. Some have experienced loss, either through death, divorce or social pressure. They’re having problems with their families, their jobs, the movers, the studio execs and their fans, the cops, their students, and their exes.
Some have been rejected by those who should be closest to them. Others have found acceptance when they never expected it. They are fathers and mothers, they are younger and older, they are black and white, they are everyone.
You tell their stories in first person, in alternate POVs, in third person and third person present tense. The stories are mainly contemporaries though I really enjoyed the two historicals and the opening fairy tale. Some stories are funny, some sad, some bittersweet, some violent.
But I finished each story, whether it was long or short, feeling that I’d just gotten a vivid glimpse into someone else’s life. And I found myself pulling for all of them to be able just to live an ordinary life, like everyone else, with no fingers pointed, no judgments made, no fanfare or hoopla. Just to be accepted. Maybe one day. Good job, one and all. B+
This book can be purchased in ebook format from AllRomanceEbooks and other etailers.
Oh, what a lovely review! Thank you Jayne :) I’m really happy to know that you liked it, and glad (as one of the team who put it together) to know that the overall theme came through. Hee! Now to go off and tell everyone I know about this review :)
Edited to add that I should probably mention that it’s also available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Just so readers know:
Alex, thanks for noting that there is a print edition available. I am not yet at the point where I can give e-books as gifts, and there are several people for whom I want to buy this book.
Thanks, Jayne — I’m usually wary of anthologies for the same reason, and it is great to know that you found this collection strong overall.
Those who have asked for f/f reviews at DA should note that this anthology includes those as well as the more predominant m/m entries. IMO, this grouping is a great way to check out the GLBT genre and these authors in particular.
I’ve never read anything by any of these authors, (most I’ve not even heard of). But as a California voter who’s disgusted that No on 8 didn’t pass, I’ll definitely pick this up next time I’m in B&N.
Thanks for the heads up!
How cool of you to have reviewed this book, Jayne! I just happened to have interviewed one of the contributors, Jeanne Barrack, on my blog today. As you mentioned, the anthology is not only for a great cause, it’s a means by which GLBT-fiction novices can sample the genre’s offerings.
I have to say, and with the utmost sincerity, that this particular branch of romance/erotic romance represents some of the most talented writers I’ve come across. And that ain’t no blow.
I was impressed with all the entries. Some are fairly long. Others are very short – and, to me, writing short stories is truly an art. Some are hawt and some have no sex in them at all. But even though I believe they were all specially written for this anthology, I didn’t feel preached at.
I too appreciate the review. I tried an anthology not that long ago of lesbian erotica and it was beyond painful – I think I maybe got a third of the way through it, and that was on the thought that it had to eventually get better. (It didn’t).
Note to people wanting to throw in foreign words in your story – one, spell them right (one story had a Latina girl and a guy called her grandmother “abuella”). Two, make sure you picked the right word (previous mentioned story had the grandmother tell the guy to get all his sons together, when really it should have been brothers or homeboys or something different). Three, don’t do a cheesy misunderstanding, but if you are, at least make sure that you have the pronounciation right so it could be a misunderstanding (black belt instructor yells at the woman “Yame!” in Japanese and the woman yells back “I don’t eat sweet potatoes!” Beyond that being horribly corny, in Japanese the vowels are pronounced, so it wouldn’t sound like yam, it would be yah-may. Actually, it took me a second to get it because I was reading it correctly so I didn’t get why the hell the woman was bringing up sweet potatoes in an argument.)
Ugh. And that was only a small part of what was so bad about the anthology.
Anyway, so I wasn’t sure if it was an anthology thing or a not as high of standards for LGBT thing, so I would have stayed far away from this book. But now I’ll give it a look. :)
Thanks for the link! And I agree with you, there are so many good stories in this anthology, that everytime I finished one I would like for it to be longer. Elisa
Thanks for the lovely review, Jayne, you were not just encouraging and enthusiastic, but you caught the spirit of the anthology – and you loved reading it all! As a (small) contributor, I couldn’t ask for more! ^_^
As an author, I was honoured to be part of it and to work with all the talent they’d amassed there. As a reader, I’m like you, sometimes ambivalent toward anthologies. But this one was a treat, all the way through. I found new authors, and new genres too, things I wouldn’t usually have read. That’s the *good* side to anthologies, I think. :)
I’d like to congratulate the committee who handled the selection of the stories which were included here. Good job.
Ouch. And the main reason why I’m so leery of anthologies. But I don’t recall any misused foreign words in this one.
Thanks, Jayne! Well, we were in the fortunate position of being inundated with submissions for inclusion, so we could afford to be very picky. Everyone was so keen to do something against Prop 8 that we could have filled another volume with the stories we had to turn away.
And thanks SonomaLass. While I’ve been dropping hints about how an ebook reader might be a good birthday present for me this year, I still love print, and for presents there’s nothing like it.
Will there be future anthologies? I hope this one is selling well enough to raise money for the cause.
*g* I have to admit that the process of putting this one together in a little under three months was one of the most nervewracking things I’ve done, and proved that I’m not really temperamentally suited for the job of organizing something like this. So volume two, if there is one, can be helmed by somebody else. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be one, though, because I know there’s still a lot of enthusiasm for the idea that could be marshaled by the right person.
I’m about halfway through this book and so far I’ve loved several of the stories. The one about the French Foreign Legion stands out as my favorite so far. Not all have been wonderful, and I have passed on a few of the stories, but I think of it kind of like an album of music. For every brilliant song there will be a few duds that just don’t work for you.