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When Mystical Creatures Attack! (Iowa Short…
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When Mystical Creatures Attack! (Iowa Short Fiction Award) (utgåvan 2014)

av Kathleen Founds (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
698311,920 (3.95)3
In When Mystical Creatures Attack!, Ms. Freedman's high school English class writes essays in which mystical creatures resolve the greatest sociopolitical problems of our time. Students include Janice Gibbs, "a feral child with excessive eyeliner and an anti-authoritarian complex that would be interesting were it not so ill-informed," and Cody Splunk, an aspiring writer working on a time machine. Following a nervous breakdown, Ms. Freedman corresponds with Janice and Cody from an insane asylum run on the capitalist model of cognitive-behavioral therapy, where inmates practice water aerobics to rebuild their Psychiatric Credit Scores.   The lives of Janice, Cody, and Ms. Freedman are revealed through in-class essays, letters, therapeutic journal exercises, an advice column, a reality show television transcript, a diary, and a Methodist women's fundraising cookbook. (Recipes include "Dark Night of the Soul Food," "Render Unto Caesar Salad," and "Valley of the Shadow of Death by Chocolate Cake.") In "Virtue of the Month," the ghost of Ms. Freedman's mother argues that suicide is not a choice. In "The Un-Game," Janice's chain-smoking nursing home charge composes a dirty limerick. In "The Hall of Old-Testament Miracles," wax figures of Bible characters come to life, hungry for Cody's flesh.   Set against a South Texas landscape where cicadas hum and the air smells of taco stands and jasmine flowers, these stories range from laugh-out-loud funny to achingly poignant. This surreal, exuberant collection mines the dark recesses of the soul while illuminating the human heart.… (mer)
Medlem:reganzzzz
Titel:When Mystical Creatures Attack! (Iowa Short Fiction Award)
Författare:Kathleen Founds (Författare)
Info:University Of Iowa Press (2014), Edition: 1, 206 pages
Samlingar:children, Borrowed from library, Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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When Mystical Creatures Attack! (Iowa Short Fiction Award) av Kathleen Founds

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» Se även 3 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 8 (nästa | visa alla)
This book is almost too much to classify. The level of glee it elicited from me hasn't happened for a while either. I loved the variety of storytelling happening here; that it made me laugh out loud several times while reading it; that I could so clearly see myself as the early-mid-20s English teacher (it was almost scary); the passive-aggressive digressions; the zombie manikins. READ THIS BOOK. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
Full review to come! ( )
  Floratina | Dec 7, 2019 |
"It was really quite a shame-I really enjoyed the format and the humor is very present (a rarity-humor being one of the hardest things to write!) but the characterization and stories were disappointing."
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2016/07/when-mystical-creatures-attack-kathle... ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Aug 1, 2016 |
Some of the cover blurbs on this refer to it as a collection of stories. I find this a little confusing, as to me it's pretty clearly a novel, albeit a very odd, very short novel. I mean, the same characters appear throughout, there's a narrative progression through time, and I'm not at all sure how well any of the chapters would stand on their own as stories. But maybe the confusion is understandable, because if it is a novel, it's an unusually structured one. Parts of it are told in the form journal entries, student writing assignments, an online advice column, and various other offbeat formats; the traditional-narrative parts vary between first and second person; and while it can be regarded as a unified whole, it's a very loose sort of whole.

There's also an odd contrast between structure and subject matter. There's a real sense of playfulness in the format, and, indeed, there's a lot of humor here, but it's really dark humor, and the story -- which focuses primarily on the lives of a high school teacher and one of her students -- features such cheery topics as mental illness, poverty, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, miscarriage, suicide, and both the good and bad aspects of religion.

The result is interesting, mostly in a good way, but its inventiveness, for me, teetered back and forth a bit between feeling clever and feeling kind of gimmicky. And in the end, for all its dark subject matter, it feels a bit slight. Still, it was a quick and sometimes intriguing read, and parts of it are surprisingly poetic. ( )
  bragan | Feb 24, 2015 |
www.readingbifrost.com

“Plenty of teachers have thrown a terrarium out a window and shouted, ‘You’re driving me crazy!’ But you’re the first who actually followed through.”

First off I have to say that this book wasn’t at all what I first expected. I expected a witty commentary about how a school teacher in the midst of a midlife crisis is handling school systems, parents, and disrespectful students. What I got instead was a book full of life lessons learned through experience and through the eyes of others.

The three main characters are Laurel Freedman- the teacher- and two of her students, Janice and Cody. Laurel’s mother had mental problems of her own, and her father wasn’t exactly “Father of the Year” material, but she was a young teacher determined she would change the world through her students. BUT, she suffers from a mental disorder (bipolar?) which eventually leads her to a mental breakdown- which is really where the novel begins (our story here isn’t linear).

Janice was abandoned by her mother as a child, and left to live with her aunt when her father remarries. Her character is a hurting teenage girl with a problem “acting out” for attention.

Cody is the dreamer/geek of the group. His short stories are my favorite featured in the novel and will most likely get the most laughs.

There are times when the point of view switches to second person, which really just confuses the story and made me want to skim over those parts. The rest of the story is first person from one character to another through letters, e-mails, cookbook recipes, and short stories- which really worked. I don’t know why there were sudden switches to second person that just blew off the flow of the story.

Overall, I would recommend When Mystical Creatures Attack to anyone who enjoys novels with mixed media (email, letters, etc…) and that’s hits serious topics but still a bit on the silly side. ( )
  ReadingBifrost | Oct 14, 2014 |
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In When Mystical Creatures Attack!, Ms. Freedman's high school English class writes essays in which mystical creatures resolve the greatest sociopolitical problems of our time. Students include Janice Gibbs, "a feral child with excessive eyeliner and an anti-authoritarian complex that would be interesting were it not so ill-informed," and Cody Splunk, an aspiring writer working on a time machine. Following a nervous breakdown, Ms. Freedman corresponds with Janice and Cody from an insane asylum run on the capitalist model of cognitive-behavioral therapy, where inmates practice water aerobics to rebuild their Psychiatric Credit Scores.   The lives of Janice, Cody, and Ms. Freedman are revealed through in-class essays, letters, therapeutic journal exercises, an advice column, a reality show television transcript, a diary, and a Methodist women's fundraising cookbook. (Recipes include "Dark Night of the Soul Food," "Render Unto Caesar Salad," and "Valley of the Shadow of Death by Chocolate Cake.") In "Virtue of the Month," the ghost of Ms. Freedman's mother argues that suicide is not a choice. In "The Un-Game," Janice's chain-smoking nursing home charge composes a dirty limerick. In "The Hall of Old-Testament Miracles," wax figures of Bible characters come to life, hungry for Cody's flesh.   Set against a South Texas landscape where cicadas hum and the air smells of taco stands and jasmine flowers, these stories range from laugh-out-loud funny to achingly poignant. This surreal, exuberant collection mines the dark recesses of the soul while illuminating the human heart.

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