Book Review: Spring Fevers, Matt Sinclair, ed. (2012)

June 9th, 2014 12:45 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Solid Collection

four out of five stars

(Trigger warning for discussions of rape.)

One in a series of seasonally-themed short fiction anthologies, the stories found in Spring Fevers revolve around the idea of spring: “Spring is the time of new beginnings, new life, new love. And fevers can result in pain, unexpected visions, and an appreciation for health and normalcy.” Relationships take center stage: from the shy first bloom of new love, with all the exciting possibilities it entails, to love long since withered, left for dead, and buried. Relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, ideas and their creators, the government and the governed, the oppressed and their oppressors; the stories run the gamut, and span multiple genres: fantasy, supernatural, science fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction.

Spring Fevers first caught my attention because it includes a contribution by Mindy McGinnis. I absolutely adore her debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink, and hoped that “First Kiss” would help to tide me over until the release of In a Handful of Dust this fall. A supernatural rape revenge story, “First Kiss” is by far my favorite: creepy, unexpected, and very satisfying. At the current going price of zero dollars, you should check out Spring Fevers for this one alone.

I also enjoyed J. Lea Lopez’s “The Adventures of Sasquatch,” in which the protagonist – who is pushing 40 – still struggles to overcome teenage angst and self-doubt. (“‘It’s not a competition.’ That’s the one thing people get wrong about women. We’re never really trying to compete with each other, only ourselves, our own insecurities.”)

A.M. Supinger’s “The Pit” handily sets the stage for a medieval-dystopian series (also with elements from the rape revenge genre), and “Only by Moonlight” (also by A.M. Supinger) sees a distraught young woman entreating the magical Stone House Lady for an abortion (again the product of a rape. Rape isn’t as common a theme in Spring Fevers as my review might lead you to believe; and thankfully, it’s always alluded to, never described in detail.) Last but not least, Supinger’s “The Tree of Life” is a rather beautiful and melancholy tale about a phantom spirit who’s trapped in this realm to assist The Tree of Life in bringing forth new creatures. Long since tired of his role and yearning for release, he finds a renewed sense of purpose in the ethereal beings who emerge from the Tree’s delicate white eggs.

Spring Fevers is a fairly solid collection, with contributions ranging from fair to outstanding. The only piece I didn’t much care for was “Step Zero,” in which some jerk cheats on his wife (with his secretary! walking cliche much?), who inexplicably gives him a second chance.

There is also some rapey stuff in “Dreams” that I could have done without; namely, the narrator talks about wanting to grope (read: sexually assault) an unconscious woman who’s passed out on his couch. “But I didn’t, either because I’m a considerate guy or just a total chickenshit dweeb who doesn’t have the mansack to grab a handful when the chick is passed out cold on my couch and pissed off at her boyfriend and she didn’t look like she would’ve minded much anyway.” Allow me to broach a third possibility: you are douchnozzle. (To be fair, perhaps we’re supposed to read this character as a douchenozzle, but I didn’t get that impression from the rest of the otherwise humorous story.)

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on Amazon.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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