Two chapbooks featuring vignettes from the life of a young man growing up in the late 70's/early 80's.
I read these two chapbooks back to back, without initially realizing that they were actually the first of installments chronicling the life of a young man through short stories, and to be honest, these aren't the kind of stories I generally go for (I love me a healthy dose of the weird and macabre) but I found myself really enjoying them.
The first chapbook CIRCLES is a set of stories focused on the boyhood of an army brat in the late 70's as he experiences first loves and friendships forming and falling apart. There was some real sweetness mixed with melancholy in this set of stories, and it hit me with a pretty healthy dose of nostalgia for my own youth (although I'm a 90's kid, the small Montana town I'm from still hasn't really entered the new millennium). The writing did feel a smidge wooden for me, but not so much that it hindered my reading by any means.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING picks up as the narrator is entering adulthood, and while CIRCLES felt a tad stiff, these stories found a wonderful flow that swept me up. There is more focus on the dysfunctional family that could have so easily turned into melodrama, but instead has so much nuance for such a small word count, and the handling of a family members mental illness felt especially tactful (without sugar coating). I could almost feel Greene finding his stride and embracing his voice through the page--and let me tell ya, I found it wonderfully effective.
The stories unfolding here could've easily turned into nostalgia porn and melodrama, and the fact that they didn't made them so much more satisfying. I'm a reader that gravitates toward the surreal, but I found myself really enjoying how true to life, and borderline autobiographical these stories felt. I also couldn't help but be impressed by the growth in the writing between the two chapbooks, and I'm excited to see where the next chapbook takes us.