3 November 2015

Short: A Review of Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman

Smitten once more with the short story, I have been peppering the hours of the day with delightfully quirky tales. The short story is the perfect companion for a parent. Five years ago, a weird four-page turning oddity would have brightened my sleep deprived mind, saving my sanity as I navigated my way from the coffee machine to the nursery. Still maneuvering those turbulent parental waters, my tasks have shifted slightly from the keeping someone alive chores to honing the little person into someone who people might like to know duties. The school playground is filled with parents, either helocoptering, turning a blind eye or like me debating what is an appropriate display of wrestling and when to throw oneself into the melee. A hardened senior kindergarten Mom, I have little regard for decorum, and can be heard blocks away, bellowing for my offspring to get a move on. A quick little ditty to remind me that I am more than the person in red rubber boots standing in a park for two hours, is the key to keeping me, me.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman wasn't quite what I anticipated having recently immersed myself in his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Prepared for weird, really and truly deliciously weird, I was somewhat disenchanted with the collection. I kept hoping the next story would satisfy my inner child, the one who wished The Hardy Boys Mysteries were as terrifying as the intro implied. The collection has generally been seen before, either published or viewed through the social mediums we are now so familiar. The Dr. Who fan-fiction 'Nothing O'Clock ' left me charmed enough to investigate this extensive SF
phenomena that never quite peaked my interest. Shadow Moon from American Gods is given more space to grow, allowing me more time to bathe in the richness that is this character. 'The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury' left me questioning memory, lose and shifting of time. And then there was the fantastical gem, 'The Return of the Thin White Duke', the little horror tale 'Click-Clack the Rattlebag' and 'The Invocation of Incuriosity' that all contributed to the Halloween mythos that was this past weekend.

Trigger Warning may not be Neil Gaiman's strongest display of writings but it should be noted that these are still tales spun by Neil Gaiman. A Neil Gaiman story can evoke the magical unlike most writers of our time. More a storyteller than a writer, he would fit nicely around any hearth through the ages, weaving up tales of lore, fancy and myth, acting as a medium to weave a community together. A civilization's darkness reveals more than the light. Show us our fears, our despair, our longings and we are more able to denounce the little demons, giving energy to push into the light of hope and change. And for this girl, willpower to continue down the road to the playground and help a little boy become a mindful human being.