Autodidact: self-taught


Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

by V. L. Craven

Trigger Warning

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for LibraryThing , as it’s through their Early Reviewers program that I received Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning. I had requested it (along with a few hundred other people) and the notification that I’d actually receive the thing had gone to my trash folder so I knew nothing. It just arrived one day. It was a day during a rough week–impeccable timing, it had–and I thought, ‘Of course. If any book is going to seemingly magically arrive just when I need something magical it’s a Neil Gaiman book.’

That is a long way to say I received this book for free.

Trigger Warning is a collection of poetry, fairy tales, science fiction-y stories and the like. It’s bits and bobs of Gaiman.

If you’re a fan you’ll like it. If you’re not a fan already, I wouldn’t start with this one, though I enjoyed every piece in it. It does showcase his ability to write in an array of genres, so if the reader isn’t interested in one piece they can skip to the next.

Something I particularly liked was, at the beginning of the book there was information about each piece–what inspired it, where he was when he wrote it, something. I find that sort of thing interesting so I’d read each section then go back and read the paragraph or so about the ‘making-of’ that bit. I wish more books had that. What fun.

The entirety of A Calendar of Tales is in the book, which was an interesting inclusion and was much shorter than I was expecting.

There was a labyrinth and various mythologies featured a few times, which is always appreciated by this reader, as were ghosts and leprechauns. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were in the same tale, but this time the women were the hero(ines) and things aren’t always what they seem.

There’s even a Sherlock Holmes tale that read quite true-to-source for me.

And of course there are creepy children, because children are creepy.

It’s difficult to choose a stand out, as the pieces were so different, but an homage to Ray Bradbury called ‘The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury’ was wonderful and touching. The background Gaiman shared only made it more so.

There’s another story called ‘The Return of the Thin White Duke’ and you can easily guess who it’s about, but it made me smile and was wonderfully inventive.

‘Feminine Endings’ was TERRIFYING. And the story behind that one was hilarious.

If you’re a Gaiman fan, this is a must-read. 5/5

If you haven’t read anything of his yet, I’d probably start with something else, though you’d still be able to find something in here to appeal. 4/5

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