Real life and bad writing got in the way of my monthly goal of reading and reviewing self-published work, so this month I only got to do a short story. I started two novels, but couldn’t get into them. And the idea was for me to enjoy myself, so I put them down. Eventually, time was running out for me to read anything long, so I found a short story that looked interesting and short. I downloaded it and determined to finish. And so, I bring you Cat’s Milk by M. Strain Jr. It was listed under “Fiction >> Humor & comedy >> Black comedy” and “Fiction >> Horror >> Weird fiction.” Normally I have some sort of inability to categorize fiction/understand these labels. This is most certainly black comedy and weird.
In short, it is about a man and his weird mother who fertilizes her garden with dead Girl Scouts and milks her cats. Weird, right? Made me think of one of my favorite movies:
And this guy:
In spite of the subject matter and promising description, I had problems with this story. 1) It was all tell, no show. Yeah, the author tried to cram a lot in a few words, but I could have done with some showing. Unfortunately, I’m too tired to even explain (show) what I mean, so I’m feeling pretty hypocritical. Sorry. 2) It had misogynist elements. I don’t think the author is a misogynist, I don’t think the story is misogynist (I remember getting into a small discussion about ASOIAF over that distinction. I think it’s a conversation worth having, but I digress). I’m just entering a phase in my life where I get pissed at misogyny, and I got annoyed at some of the places this story went.
Who would I recommend this story to? Maybe someone who likes weird and gross. It short enough that the all tell no show won’t bother anyone for long.
Would I read anything else by this author? Sure. The author describes himself as being “new to the craft,” so I’d be interested in seeing where he goes with it.