The Ancestors #BookReview

Author(s): L. A. Blanks, Tananarive Due, Brandon Massey

Published: 2008

This is a collection of short thrillers, all by AA authors. What attracted me to the book, besides one of my favs Tananarive Due, was the stories are longer than your typical ‘short story’. There are 3 stories, all about ghosts, goblins, family, & about a hundred pages long. My theory was, the authors would use the longer format for character & plot development. This worked well in 2 out of 3 stories.

L. A. Banks, in ‘Ev’ry Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep’ writes about a young man that has to confront his violent past to conquer his present. It’s somewhat of a good old fashioned star-crossed lovers story with a supernatural twist. This plot reminds my of a popular meme on IG: ‘The prayers of your Grandmother still protect you…”. If that’s true in real life, it’s probably best not to throw her stuff! 😂 I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, though, it rolled on way too long in the beginning & the ending was rushed. This could’ve easily been a better full length book.

Brandon Massey is a new writer to me & I have to admit, I was underwhelmed. ‘The Patriarch’ is the story of a young writer that heads down south, with his girlfriend, to learn about his family’s history. The family has owned over 300 acres for many years & as he starts to explore the land he finds the families oldest living patriarch. That’s it. 100 pages of that. Written well, believable characters, witty banter, colorful, lavish descriptions…but, boring. I never felt the same excitement as the main character, to find the family secret. I think the more interesting story is how the family manages the truth, how or will his life change now that he knows? Unfortunately for us, the author ends the story before we get to the real story. Too bad. (Cont below..I was too lazy to shorten🤷🏾‍♀️)

Finally, we have Due’s entry, Ghost Summer. This was my favorite of the 3. Set in the south near the Florida/Georgia line, the story’s main character is a young pre-teen that fancy’s himself a ghost hunter. In a summer of his parents marital upheaval, he travels to his grandparents home with his younger sister & father, intending to seek out ghosts. He immediately finds what he’s looking for. The story winds up being a very interesting one, diving into the south’s history of discrimination & violence against African Americans. It’s a ghost story, a history retelling & all at once a young man’s coming of age story, one summer at grandmas house. The story is immediately captivating & doesn’t lag at all. I would love to revisit these characters in a longer format to see what happens next. 

I’ve been experiencing a bit if a love affair with short stories in the last several months. To me, reading a short story should be like eating desert first at dinner time, just the best part of a book, no meal first, no cognac chaser. Ten to one you’re on the edge of your seat in 3 pages. In most cases, you’re done in 10 pages. I’m sad to say not all of these stories were that satisfying, even allowing for the longer format. I did enjoy the writing & would encourage you to explore this book & longer reads by these authors. Overall, #GoodBook Book 3 of 36.😘😘😘

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