Pretty Monsters is a collection of short stories from author Kelly Link. They range from fantastic stories I wish were full length novels to stories wrapped up neatly. None of the monsters were cut and dry monsters but were generally misunderstood or had a sense of humour.
My personal favourites are Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, The Wrong Grave and Monster.
The Monster in the camp based story "Monster" had a playfulness and wasn't perhaps as much of a monster as the boys in Bungalow 4.
I adored crazy Aunt Dodo in Pretty Monsters who quite correctly identified the cruel and heartless way of teenage girls whom were monsters in their own way. She made me laugh a loud not regretting blowing up the bank but some of the actions of her youth.
Kelly Link was quite adept as portraying the casual cruelty of youth and coming of age antics towards ones peers. Did Bryan indeed make James wear that dress?
The true stand-out story of this collection was Magic for Beginners. The group of friends are fans of a TV show called The Library. I imagined the show to be somewhat what like Doctor Who. I wish the show really existed. It took me back to the days of watching TV without listings and surfing for something good to come on. I get why it was just a short story since coming of age was captured so lovingly what with having to move, liking the girl your friend does, etc. but if now if Link would write the Library show herself... that would make it up to me that this had to end.
The Specialist's Hat, The Wizards of Perfil and The Faery Handbag were good stories but didn't quite touch the stars as the others I listed.
They were good stories but Magic for Beginners was so perfect.
Twins were a common theme in these stories. Claire and Samantha of The Specialists Hat were the main characters but Wizards and the Monster also had twin characters. I always enjoy reading about twins since I am one. Twins and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer references made me feel at home.
The two stories I didn't feel matched the quality of the others were The Constable of Abal and Surfer. I can't quite put my finger on it but perhaps reading them with the other stories I couldn't connect to them. [It might be the drugged scene at the beginning of Surfer made me quite sleepy. Or that Zilla ended up being a goddess and not just a murdering con-artist. The story didn't manage the tone Pretty Monsters did with sympathising with the "monster" nature.
Possibly since it was told from the perspective of her daughter Ozma. Ozma, is too close to her mother despite the goddess status to let her off the hook for her crimes. The jealously of mother's looks is never a story I could bond with. It is just my preference, but it was not my favourite story of this collection. (hide spoiler)]
With the exception of being murdered at camp, Link created many different worlds I'd love to live in. The goat farm reminded me of this cool concert venue I went to last year. Very cozy stories despite all the monsters.