Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: Arsenic Soup for Lovers: When Chicken Soup Won't Work by Georgia Z. Post


When Georgia Post says short stories, she means it. None of the 25 stories in this volume are more than about 2 pages long. They are all on the same theme: marriage or the lack thereof. There are wives who want to hang on to their husbands, husbands cheating on their wives, widows who want desperately to be remarried and all sorts of variations. Not enough variations, sadly, to keep me really interested, but it's the sort of book you leave on the bathroom shelf, on the kitchen counter, and read it when you have a moment or two, so that doesn't matter too much.

My favorite story is "Assisted Living." Rosemarie has been shuffled off to an assisted living facility because her kids are concerned about her. She quickly finds herself going stir crazy among the quiet old ladies, so she sets out to make friends with the old men. Playing poker and and checking out the racing forms are far more fun than bingo and craft classes, anyway.

"Breaking Up" is really hard to do in a story where a woman hires her lawyer-pal to break the news to a boyfriend that just won't take the hint. "The Morgue Called" is a heart-warming snippet about a funeral home worker who places a classified ad, looking for mourner's for a John Doe's funeral. "Birds and the Bees" jumbles up traditional ideas about parents.

This is an interesting concept and I wouldn't mind seeing something else in the same vein from Georgia Post. While I would like to see more variety, you have to admit that Mrs. Post knows a bit about marriage: according to the author notes, she has been married for 52 years. That's quite an accomplishment. I imagine she's had time to think through some of the scenarios, with happier results.

My copy was an Advanced Reader edition; you can order yours at Amazon.com.

5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

It does sound like a good bathroom reader!

Sandra said...

I just received this one in the mail. Since reading your review I look forward to it more than ever. Yours is the first review of it I've seen.

Alea said...

In several cases the ending made no sense to me. So it was sort of disappointing, all that building up and a random, nonsense ending, at least to me!

Callista said...

I'll be posting my review of this book next week. I actually came here to tell you I recieved the book Months and Seasons that I won from your site. It just came today and I read the first story since it's about Halloween. Thanks again! I'll review it on my site when I finish it.

Anna said...

I'll be posting my review next week. I liked "Assisted Living" as well, but I'm with Alea...some of the stories I just didn't get!

--Anna
http://diaryofaneccentric.blogspot.com