A big thankyou to the author, Jacob Appel, for sending me a free copy of the book! I was thrilled to have the chance to read this collection of short stories and, as promised, here is my review.
What happens to a neighborhood when a convicted sex offender moves in? What do you do when your girlfriend is absolutely convinced that her pet hedgehog is depressed? Are you losing your mind if you start to fall in love with your daughter’s imaginary friend’s father? All of these tales and more are included in Jacob Appel’s collection of short stories, Einstein’s Beach House. This book, comprised of eight separate stories, was unlike any other collection I’ve ever read. This was my first experience reading Appel’s work, and I loved it. Each of his characters were fully developed and totally unique in their own hilarious and quirky ways. Short stories are (obviously) short, and typically begin in the middle of a situation and have open-ended endings. I thought Appel opened the story with just enough detail to engage the reader, and ended each one perfectly without connecting all the dots. His stories are wonderfully crafted and incredibly unique – I never would have had the imagination to come up with the premises of these stories. Most of them revolved around animals (or had animals mentioned in them) and a few of them had Jewish influences; you could see some patterns and figure out a couple things about the author. All the stories ranged from fairly good to amazing; I didn’t dislike a single story. I have to say my favorite of the lot was “The Rod of Asclepius” – the premise of that story blew me away. I loved how Appel never laid out all the details right away; he slowly developed the story, background, setting, and characters. Being such short stories, the author did a fantastic job setting up these characters and showing their development in just a couple dozen pages per story.
I had no major complaints about the book, honestly. I thought it was very unique, well written, and a great, quick read. And the cover? Beautiful, creative, and I love the feel of it (is that weird? I don’t care. I enjoy touching it). Thankyou again, Mr. Appel, for sending me a complimentary book – I really do appreciate it and will cherish it forever! You know the way to my heart: free books.