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August 16, 2019


#Short Stories “Show Them a Good Time”

by NancyElin




  1. This collection is worth your reading time.
  2. I enjoyed 5 of 8 stories ..62%
  3. That’s a good score!
  4. Only one story was a MAJOR disappointment
  5. …too long… not topic for a short story:
  6. Abortion, a Love Story….advice?
  7. …it should have been developed into novella.


My notes:

Show them a Good Time: – reading time 1 hr 45 min

Single setting: (garage with forecourt, gas pumps and mini-store cashier
Characters: 2 main characters Speaker (nameless) and Kevin
Flattery describes their personalities, how they clash.
Later we discover the turning point and ironic reversals of character traits.
Conclusion:very good, excellent story to begin the collection as ‘hook’.


Sweet Talk– reading time: 25 min

Setting: country farm
Summer break: Speaker tells of her ‘adventures’
other teens/friends next to the Virgin Mary statue
New houses on council estate brought in new boys….
Arrival: the Australian (30s) handy man…who wasn’t a bit skilled.
Speaker is in love with him! ( puppy love)
Conclusion: Started off well….but just fizzled out.
No real story to sink your teeth in…just
a 14 yr teenager searching for a summer adventure.


Hump reading time 20 min
Setting: father’s bedroom
Characters: Father (70 yr) (dying) – mother – speaker
Action: family funeral
Problem: speaker discovers lump in breast
Conclusion: somewhat engaged, bored still a confusing story….


Abortion, a Love Story:  reading time ….??
Setting: college campus
Just as I was trying to understand the
speaker and her lover Prof Carr…..
the story made a U-turn and it is all about
another character Lucy!
Conclusion: …I gave up after 20 minutes.
This is just NOT a short story.
Flattery has stumbled upon some interesting material

…but is is NOT the right topic for a shot story
Flattery should take some time and commit this narrative to a novel.


Track: reading time: 30 min
Setting: NYC
Characters: speaker (young Irish girl – boyfriend (comedian, famous)
Topic: the RISE snd FALL of a relationship
Core message: “…Never give people what they want.”
Conclusion: disturbing, introspective
…something you have to experience to write like this!
Good work.

NOTE: 2017 White Review Short Story Prize for Track, one of the best Irish short stories of this millennium.


Parrot:   reading time 30 minutes
Setting: Paris..visiting art exhibition
Characters: significant other (?) – speaker – stepson
Opinion: First sentence is confusing in an effort to be profound.
I’d rather a short line with few words to shock the reader of set the tone.
I will keep reading the story because I want to review all 8 selections
…otherwise I would have ditched this story…just b/c of this 1st sentence.
Core message: musings of unhappy woman in relationship, her rebellious young
stepson and almost daily conversations with mother
(…still in Ireland) and speaker in Paris does not help.
Flashback: speaker tells us about her husband’s first wife…ill, perhaps mentally ill.
Flashback: trip to Paris with her mother
Flashback: spying her husband’s first wife in a store…a week later she would be dead.
Conclusion: Despite the weak start and confusing title (minimal meaning in the story IMO)…the narrative developed nicely. Good


You’re Going To Forget Me:  reading time  15 min
Setting: hotel room. book presentation. hospital room
Characters: Speaker (author on book tour) – her sister (7 months pregnant
Core message: telephone conversations between the women
Topic: importance of what others think about you
Question: is it ever ‘small talk’ between sisters…or is everything important?
Conclusion: intense….great story about sisters, very good.


Not The End Yet: reading time 28 min
Setting: car park
Characters: Angela (teacher 41 yr) – nameless men (salesman, 45 yr, 47 yr, 55 yr)
Topic: blind dates…they feel like dental appointments !
Clinical, horrible…must get through it!
Conclusion: Delightfully amusing!





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