Friedman's Fables

Edwin H. Freidman, Friedman's Fables. New York: The Guilford Pres, 1990. 213 pgs

Yet another book I have mentioned before. In that post I linked to several stories which I was able to find online before actually getting the book from the library. They all happened to be stories I enjoyed... sadly, I cannot say the same of the entire book.

This book, as the title suggests, is a collection of fables. Fables, in this case, being short stories with a lesson. Friedman divides them into sections, with a brief introduction for each section and 6 stories in each of the 4 sections of the book. The points he tries to make in these stories are, naturally, the same one's he spells out in much more detail in his other books.

Sadly, both his writing and his lessons suffer as a result of the poor quality of many of the stories. In some of his stories, the point he is trying to make so overrides the narrative as to make the story boring or just bad. At other times, the point is so obscure and difficult that when I finished the story I wondered what in the world I had just read.

Still, about 1 in ever 4 stories was very good, and quite worth reading. I particularly enjoyed the story of Cinderella told from the perspective of the mother-in-law, as well as the story of the boy whose nerves grew outside of his body.

Overall though, sad day. Easy, light reading, but if you pick up this book feel free to quickly skip over the stories which seem poor; they are. As well, if you want to learn what Friedman has to say, you are better off reading his other books.

As a final note, I always wonder about reviewing books like this; ones I don't enjoy and don't recommend (at least overall). What's the point? I guess so you can avoid this book? On the other hand, at least for now, I am going to put all the books I read up here... we will see how that goes.

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