Monday, October 3, 2011

Fragile Things Group Read, Week 4

Now that I’m all caught up with the group read, you’ll be seeing these once a week until I’ve finished reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Also, I’ll be able to read at a reasonable pace now, which is a good thing for Fragile Things; I can devote my full attention to the stories.

So, carrying on, the fourth week stories are:

Good Boys Deserve Favors

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch

Strange Little Girls

Harlequin Valentine

I like these four stories quite a bit. It definitely was a fun group of stories. Beware (once again) there will be spoilers!

Good Boys Deserve Favors: This one about a boy who is not a very good bass player but has his moment to shine, until he breaks his bass and once fixed, never sounds the same. I really connected with this one having been a violinist as a teenager for five years. I’ve known the feeling of triumph when I’ve mastered a musical piece or frustration when it takes longer than I'd like (I didn't always practice as I should have). I’ve also had that one special school violin that did play a certain way for me and when I would try other school instruments they did not have that sound that I liked and they just didn’t feel right in my hands. I made sure each year to get that same one. I think my musical background really strengthened my connection to this story.

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch: A mysterious underground circus and Miss Finch, the prudish party pooper, is “asked” to participate and is never seen again after her performance during the Cabinet of Wishes Fullfill’d. I came away that this underground circus took on a life of it’s own, that it will never have another show and Miss Finch may be the one and only person to have a wish fulfilled.

Strange Little Girls: Quick peaks into the lives, thoughts and feelings of different women. Some are sad, triumphant, each story vague enough that you just barely understand what is happening in these moments but allow you to fill in the blanks yourself.

Harlequin Valentine: The stalkerish aspect in the beginning, with the nailing of a heart to a door, I found a bit disturbing. But the story turned around in the end and I found it charming and sweet (for Neil Gaiman). A secret crushed revealed and satisfied by a simple “Happy Valentines Day”, was a nice way to end this story.

I could reread these four short stories again. Especially Harlequin Valentine, it put a smile on my face and Good Boys Deserve Favors for bringing back fond memories of my high school orchestra class.


  1. I like your "spoilers" ... they really only make me want to read the story, not minding that I now have some clue of the ending. :)

  2. Oh good! This is my first collection of short stories I've chosen to read on my own. The last time I had to read a short story was in high school. I'm really enjoying them and it helps that I like Neil Gaiman's writing :)

  3. Oh, do you think the circus won't reappear? I'm sure at another time and place it will be fulfilling someone's wishes, just the people who have seen it will never get another chance.

  4. Glad you enjoyed this week's stories, they really are a nice grouping, especially after last week's offerings.

    I love your personal connection to Good Boys. I imagine you and others like you who played instruments in school would have a much deeper connection to this one. Such a great story.

    I always imagine the circus in Miss Finch crops up in different places. Never the same location, but at some place something wild happens every time. It is a bizarre story that for me ends up being a happy story because I am pleased for Miss Finch.

    I see Harlequin Valentine the same way, it ends up being a sweet, charming and I believe happy tale where, despite tables being turned, everyone ends up content and where they should be.

  5. I think it was the part when one of the circus performers came running with streaked makeup. It felt comical and that made me think maybe they didn't quite know what they had with this circus, that the circus itself became it's own being and that Miss Finch triggered it. But I also like the idea of this traveling circus fulfilling wishes. I was not one to read short stories and I think Neil Gaiman is a good place to start. They really do allow your imagination to run with your own ideas.

    I really need to do my homework on Harlequin. As much as I did enjoy the story, I think I'd appreciate it even more knowing who Harlequin and Columbine are and there story.