BOOK REVIEW: ‘Your Sick’ by Elizabeth Colen, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee

Your Sick book cover

Your Sick is a collaborative effort by three authors. None of the stories are attributed to the individual authors, so whether the were written by the individual authors, all are written by all three authors, or each one in some combination is unclear. Most of the stories deal with sickness, physical and mental, of some type.
The first story, “Forgetting Wendy,” isn’t the best foot forward despite its interesting premise. A woman is inflicted with a selective amnesia that causes her to forget entirely about her daughter. It has an amazing opening sentence.

You left our baby on the bus.”

However, as interesting as the premise is, it never really mines deep enough into the potential inside it. The ending especially comes across as limp. It’s like the story is afraid to go into messed up a situation like this could get. I could forgive it if the story was funny or especially engaging in any other way, but in the end it’s just forgettable.

The titular story is probably the weakest one in the book. A woman’s ex-partner is infected with a disease that distorts her name. A fascinating impossibility, but the story does nothing at all with it. It ends up being a very ho-hum story about a break up.

There are, however, some excellent stories in this collection. One of my favorites was The Storm Grower, about a woman who has a garden that grows storms and other natural disasters. She sells and gives away the storms to troubled kids, who end up causing mass destruction with them. One day, a baby is left abandoned on her property.

The night she sleeps with her dog at the foot of the bed, baby in a makeshift crib. Dog and baby snore in sync. In the morning she knows she needs to name them. So many storms in her book of designs.

This great absurdist story really shows the extent of these authors’ creativity and their ability to create vivid imagery with their simple prose.

Another stand out story is “L.” A woman on a bus that gets in a deadly accident takes a dog from a man who died as well as the purse of another victim. A woman who looked like her. She chooses to try to take on the woman’s identity, despite the fact she knows she can’t maintain it. She still tries to stay this other woman for as long as possible. She’s desperate to leave her old self behind.

Dead is dead. I had to decide. I could say that I’d broken into Masie’s apartment in a state of shock, which was true. Or I could say I thought the dog was hers, and went looking for her because I’d found her bag among the wreckage. I could say anything at this point, less than 24 hours after the crash. But time was passing. At some point, shock would turn into lying. My excuses wouldn’t fly. And the more people involved in Masie’s life, the more likely I’d get caught.

This story is the kind that Shirley Jackson would write if she lived in the 21st century. A subtly disturbing and strange, yet realistic story about the search for self-ownership in the face of seemingly overwhelming social obligations.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.