It Ain’t Easy: Short stories by Kesia Alexandra

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Hellllllllo readers; I have stepped away from the fantasy books and have discovered some wonderful books this week which you will see reviews of soooon. I’ve been getting back into going to the library and getting books read. I think some variety is needed so I’m trying to read lots of different styled books so there’s something for everyone. I’m other news, I am looking for a new job *cheers.* I’ve been meaning to look properly for a while but I’m ready to move to a new city and find myself a new path I guess but will keep you updated. For now a selection of short stories to get your teeth into.

Life is seldom easy for a teenager, and when that teen has to grow up in Washington, DC, life can be hell. In It Ain’t Easy, a collection of short stories by Kesia Alexandra, the reader is shown what life is like in that part of the city that’s not monuments and government buildings—from the gritty streets of some of the poorest parts of the city to the privileged halls of its prestigious private schools.

I do adore a short-story if done well; emphasis on the “if done well.” I think that it seems simple to write a short story but recently I’ve found if I’m reading short stories or a novella, they are too short and therefore fail to capture the reader wholly. Thankfully that didn’t happen here; this author writes with a skilful insight into the five stories of five girls that each delve into the gritty Washington scene. We meet, a single mother caught up in cheating the tax system, a mother to be with a less than savoury partner and a scholarship student attending a private school but drawn to a shady person in her path amongst others.

The writing is raw and real; I often complain about slang used in books but here it just about words. The language, I assume used in Washington helps to cement the stories to a certain place. Lines like ‘I check my watch. “We don’t want to be late.” “Girl, it don’t start till two. Stop bein’ pressed.” She grabs my arm and pulls me into the shop.’ There are a couple of glitches in the grammar and a number of spelling wobbles but it shows a writer with potential and promise. If she were to turn any of these stories into something longer, I would definitely grab a copy. My only real wobble is I would have liked a little more character development. Although the stories are short I think there was more time to really build the profiles and make the reader fall for the character.

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The stories are often raw and blunt offering a real and honest looking into the lives of those in the city. The writing is strong and steady and it has an evocative feel to it. If anyone has read NW by Zadie Smith it has the same feel although I think this writing could be strengthened with deeper and stronger descriptions. It gets about half there and then falters, I think overall more could be added. The speech is coarse and dotted with swear words which helps to make the text feel all the more real. It’s not added for the benefit of adding swear words but instead it adds to the text which I liked.

Overall this is a book with real merits; it tells a number of tales with determination and tenacity. It doesn’t hold back on the tales. My only critique would be a lacking in character profiling and more heady description but the writing style is solid. A quick read and an author I would really like to see more from.

Links

Amazon

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