Seeing Things: Sonora Taylor
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Sonora Taylor first came onto my radar with her release ‘Without Condition.’ It was a book I didn’t expect to like, but end up loving. She followed that up with her amazing collection ‘Little Paranoias: Stories,’ which featured one of the greatest short stories of all time in ‘Weary Bones.’
When news broke of her next release arriving, I was excited to see what she conjured up with ‘Seeing Things.‘ When the cover was revealed, my excitement grew even more so.
What I liked: In ‘Seeing Things‘ we follow 13-year-old Abby, who is shocked one day at school when she sees blood in the hallway and an eyeless girl stuck in a locker. She tries to put this behind her, by spending some time with her Uncle, but to her dismay, the visions have followed her.
The relationship Sonora has created between Abby and Uncle Keith was fantastic and easily the highlight of the book. I remember the excitement I would have when the family would be coming for a visit. I would feel all jumbled inside waiting for their arrival. Taylor found a way to bottle that emotion and get it onto paper. The feelings of hurt and anger when the family member arrived or you visit but their focus isn’t 100% on you.
As the story progresses and we see how things play out, Abby’s devotion to her Uncle takes centre stage and really does drive this short novel.
What I didn’t like: While reading this, the book never had the feeling of the Taylor I’d read recently. I had some suspicions, which was confirmed in the author’s note after, that this was a story that had been started before ‘Without Condition.’ It didn’t have the same refinement that I love about Taylor’s work.
I personally wish this had been simply a character study between Abby and Keith, two people at key points in their life, trying desperately to still have a relationship like they used too. The paranormal/supernatural aspects often got in the way of their developments and at times were there and then gone within a sentence or two, which really eliminated any sense of worth or even fear towards what it meant.
Lastly, I wanted some resolution. Between the parents and Abby, between brothers and between Abby and Uncle. We never received any of that and it left me frustrated.
Why you should buy it: This is an engrossing read and even when some things get glossed over or are introduced and then dismissed, you so desperately want to know how things play out and what will happen with Abby. That is the ability Taylor has with her writing, to create characters you care about and stories you long to read.
I can’t wait to see what other world’s Sonora creates in the future!
Abby Gillman has discovered that with growing up, there comes a lot of blood. But nothing prepares her for the trail of blood she sees in the hallway after class – or the ghost she finds crammed inside an abandoned locker.
No one believes Abby, of course. She’s only seeing things. As much as Abby wants to be believed, what she wants more is to know why she can suddenly see the dead. Unfortunately, they won’t tell her. In fact, none of them will speak to her. At all.
Abby leaves for her annual summer visit to her uncle’s house with tons of questions. The visit will give her answers the ghosts won’t – but she may not like what she finds out.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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