The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff [Book Review]

The Bed Moved was full of punchy lines (fully of shock value and little substance, well written sentences, that felt sterile and without emotion. The stories were to read as sad but instead felt numb.

This collection, of short stories, wasn’t for me. It seems that there are those out there whose boxes are checked by this book; I was left scratching my head.

Let’s start off with what I liked. I liked Schiff’s short, clipped, stream of conscious style of writing. The sentences, as considered by a former english major, are well written. That was it. That was all that was good.

While those sentences might have been individually well-written, the stories felt like they were being told by an outside observer. Schiff’s characters felt like intruders in their own stories. Everything felt detached. While it might be an unfair assumption – this could be the author’s way of coping with death – to me it came off as without emotion. I couldn’t feel for any of the, vastly similar, characters. I just felt angry, like I would never want to know these people. Worst of all, maybe, was that the stories didn’t really feel like stories – none of them knew how to end (if there were endings at all). The best ending belonged to ‘Sports Night’ because at least it felt like something had transpired.

The best story was ‘Another Cake’. It was a story about the passing of her father. It felt the most real – the most reliable and the least sterile – though it was still a story with no conclusion. And maybe that is me being unfair, again, maybe I missed the theme of the whole book (Life doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion and despite the events that transpire in our lives nothing has a satisfying beginning, middle or end.) but I couldn’t relate. I wanted (or expected) to read a collection of short stories, not a collection of flash in the pan quips that, mostly, fall flat.

This collection isn’t something that I’ll mind forgetting.


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