A.M. Homes has painted a dark and bizarre picture of suburbia, knocking down that whole fantasy of how the suburbs are pure and clean. She has put together a twisted collection of stories that are subtle, outrageous and downright disturbing. This is not an easy read for those who have weak stomachs or are extremely sensitive. However, if you're looking for something a little more darker and sinister, "The Safety of Objects" just might be the thing for you.
When you think of "suburbia," you think of somewhere that is safe, quiet, boring and normal. These stories take place in a neighborhood that could very well resemble somewhere where YOU live. The truth is that this "normal" neighborhood is contaminated with bizarre behavior and unbelievable stories. There's the couple who decide to do drugs when their kids are away from home. There's the kid who was abducted by a kidnapper, only to end up being a big disappointment to the abductor. There's the mother with the son that is in a coma after a car accident, and she doesn't know what should be done. And let's not forget about the little boy who has an extreme obsession with his sister's Barbie doll. These are only some of the stories you will uncover in this unrelenting and unapologetic read.
Homes has a great way of getting straight to the point without using any extra or unnecessary words. Her writing reminds me a little of Raymond Carver, only more twisted and graphic. She's able to create some very interesting and creepy characters without having to give you their complete life story. While there are some stories that I like more than others, I found myself enjoying the entire book. Just when I thought I had read some pretty twisted and disturbing stuff, I started to realize that I hadn't seen nothing yet after I started reading this book.
I cannot stress this enough; this is NOT recommended for those who are extremely sensitive and get offended easily. These stories are dark, graphic and unforgiving. Some stories aren't as extreme as others while there are some that'll make you feel downright guilty for reading. I had a hard time reading some of these stories, but A.M. Homes' craft is done so well that you can't help but continue reading. People who like Chuck Palahniuk are bound to get a kick out of these stories. My favorite stories in this collection are "Looking for Johnny," "Jim Train," "The Bullet Catcher," "Esther in the Night," and everyone's favorite cult classic, "A Real Doll," which is the funniest and most deranged story in the entire collection.
"The Safety of Objects" is a humorous and chilling read that you will have a hard time forgetting. It's great to see something that is supposed to be viewed as innocent such as "suburbia," and see it transformed into something much more sinister and terrifying. If you're a fan of the short story and aren't afraid to venture into some of the darkest and tragic corners of fiction, then this is something you should consider picking up. I will never forget these stories. They are forever imprinted into my brain. -Michael Crane