Author: Gretchen Johnson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2012
Page Count: 162
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 5/5 Stars
A hilarious and entertaining collection of short stories that make this book impossible to put down.
*Some of the story plots were not something I’d find interesting
“I was afraid. I knew I had to get out somehow, but I didn’t know which door to use or which direction to walk once I passed through.” There are eighteen different short stories that make up The Joy of Deception. They tell the stories of small town people in places like Fargo, and there are a plethora of characters who each have their own entertaining appeal, from the pushy, chess master wannabe to the frighteningly bipolar diner owner. Some characters seek a future in a bigger world outside of their small town, while others are content to while away their time with their one true pleasure.
Since each short story is so creative and the characters are so fascinating, this book was impossible to put down. Johnson gives the reader a good amount of stories in this book so there should definitely be something for everyone to enjoy. The stories themselves range from three to a little over thirty pages so you get a mixture of long and short tales. While the stories are centered around life in a small town, every problem the various characters face is universal no matter where you live. I loved how completely different each story was and none of them ever felt like she put any less effort into it then the previous story. There is always some interesting twist or revelation at the end. But what really makes this book are her characters. There are some of the most annoying but fascinating characters in this collection, including one who can’t stop himself from lying. In the short stories where you had characters like him, you didn’t want the story to end once you hit that last page.
Overall this book was great from start to finish. The only thing I did notice was that some stories were not as interesting to me because of their subject and it brought down the reading experience for me. One, for example, was about a food eating contest which just doesn’t interest me in the least. Since I knew these stories had interesting endings and that once I was finished I could move on to a completely new story in the next chapter, I found myself rushing through the current story just to be done with it. And even after finding out the ending of those stories, I found them to be the least interesting compared to the rest.
However, this book is a quick read that anyone could easily finish in one sitting. It’s funny and lighthearted, and I was really impressed with the quality of stories in this book, especially considering how many Johnson has written. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something to change-up their usual choices for reading. The simple entertainment that comes from so many different stories is sure to give you the motivation and inspiration to jump into whatever you plan on conquering next.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.