What’s Enough Of This Shit Already all about?:
Teenager Alana is suffering after a break-up with her boyfriend and an incident at a party with popular “jock” Brad Johnson. This short piece of fiction follows her as she takes justice into her own hands.
What did I think?:
I’ve never come across the author of this story, Tony Black before but in the introduction to this collection he is described as a “relative newcomer” to crime fiction by the editor, Maxim Jakubowski. After a bit more research I’ve discovered he is most famous for his tartan noir novels and to date has written thirteen novels, a number of novellas and contributed to quite a few collections like this one. As a proud Scot myself, I’m a bit ashamed that I haven’t heard of him previously and after reading this little belter of a story, will be sure to pick up something from his back catalogue.
There were two things that surprised me about this story. First of all, I was quite surprised at how short it was taking just five minutes to read from start to finish and secondly, the actual content of the story. I mean, when you read a certain genre you don’t expect it to be all love, peace and harmony of course and perhaps the title of the piece threw me off slightly – maybe I was anticipating something humorous? I’m not sure but what I ended up getting was an amazing literary ride with hugely dark and twisty undercurrents.
I don’t want to ruin things for anybody who hasn’t read this story before so apologies for any vagueness but as I’ve said before in some of the other posts for my Short Stories Challenge, the real beauty of a story like this comes when you read it for yourself. Our main character is a teenage girl called Alana and from the very first line we get a hint of her mindset:
“Shopping is, like, my way of getting over Steve…until the meds kick in anyway.”
Alana has recently broken up with her boyfriend, Steve after he caught her at a party underneath another guy, Brad Johnson. Brad is now giving Alana quite a lot of grief in the way that some teenage boys do, especially when they are showing off in front of their friends. Alana manages to hold her own admirably when he is around, even through her misery and the poisonous remarks of the other girls at school who are calling her every name under the sun. The worst part about the entire incident however is that Alana cannot remember what happened and it is pretty certain that she wasn’t drunk or taking drugs at the time. Her mother is terribly worried about her state of mind although it is clear that Alana hasn’t told her exactly what happened at the party. Now her situation is about to get a hell of a lot worse when a particular type of test she buys from the pharmacy turns blue and the path she chooses to go down to ease her suffering may not seem like the particularly conventional type.
This short story packs an incredible punch. The author weaves so much anger, distress and all-round chilling events into just a few pages and then blows everything out of the water with a real humdinger of an ending that certainly had me biting my nails down to the knuckle as I marvelled at his talent with words. It’s also a story that has had me thinking about it long after finishing, especially imagining what would come next if the author had continued to write. Definitely the mark of a terrific author in my opinion and one I’m excited to read more from!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: Stars Of Motown Shining Bright by Julie Orringer from the collection How To Breathe Underwater