by Suzanne Crawford, contemporary (2013)
Alyssium Books, $2.99, ISBN N/A
Riding To The Rescue is a pretty short story, and I wonder whether the $2.99 price tag may put readers off, considering how there are longer stories flying around for $0.99 all over the place at the moment. Still, let's not dwell too much on numbers and look at the story.
Well, it's... interesting. For one, this story is narrated from the hero Henry's point of view. He's a cowboy, and he shows up one fine day at a small town in North Carolina to cause all kinds of mayhem. This includes snogging our heroine Annabel while being her knight in shining armor.
Now, I actually like the concept of this story - the whole "lone wolf shows up to sweep the girl off her feet while being a bad ass" theme is one I've always enjoyed, but this one doesn't work at all for me.
Firstly, the hero is way too over the top as this Marlboro Man archetype to be taken seriously. I mean, that guys immediately makes all the other men crazed with jealousy just by breathing, for example, while women just swoon at his presence. The author creates some laughable scenario for Henry to take off his shirt in public so that all the women want milkshake. All things considered, poor Henry seems more like a cartoon character than anything else.
Secondly, the first person narration is way off because the author doesn't succeed in making Henry sound male enough. It's hard to put an exact finger to what is wrong with this, it's more of a combination of many awkward words and phrases here and there that make the first person narration feel stilted and artificial. But this could also be due to the author's writing style as a whole, which leads me to the next point.
Thirdly, oh my goodness the whole story is full of telling with no showing. Take a look:
I could forgo having lunch until after the rest of patrons were fed. I walked into the kitchen and found a young man sweating and seemed to be way out of his element. I took the reins and started receiving orders right away, which I had no problem in dealing with, especially with a little help from the young man that I had taken over for.
After the lunch was finished, I was able to sit down at the counter and finally have a good homemade steak dinner that I had made myself. Henrietta was so impressed with how I handled myself that she immediately offered me the job and a place to stay in a vacant room above the place.
The whole IKEA assembly manual style of writing, coupled with the whole "Henry constantly talks about how he is so awesome at everything, the poor guy seems like he's desperately showboating" feel of the story, make Riding To The Rescue a story that is itself in dire need of rescuing. Lots of it.
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