M is for Magic, by Neil Gaiman (2007) K

Date Read: 7.4.07

Book From: Borders piracy

Reviewer: Kakaner

M is for Magic is a collection of short stories written for children. I had been eagerly anticipating the publication of this collection because I find Gaiman’s writing tends to come across warmer and his characters more relatable in his children works (Coraline, Wolves in the Walls, etc.).

I am sorry to say that this collection was sorely disappointing. First of all, I had already seen about half of these stories in other collections, for example, “Troll Bridge”– for the third time– and “Sunbird”. The first story in the collection, “The Case of The Four And Twenty Blackbirds”, was abysmal. It literally hurt me to read it. It was incredibly contrived, and each paragraph seemed to end with a terribly joke or pun. To top it off, the story was also filled with sexual innuendos written in a childish manner, a clear attempt to transcend the boundaries of the age bracket of the genre through clever humor. I couldn’t believe I was actually reading children’s literature or Gaiman’s work for that matter.

“The Case of The Four And Twenty Blackbirds” certainly spoiled the rest of the collection for me. There was no spark and nothing remarkable in the rest of M is for Magic. Despite the overall lackluster appeal of this collection, I still have great respect for Neil Gaiman and am still looking forward to his new works.

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Neil Gaiman

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  1. shaggykorean’s avatar

    skipped entirely over “The Case of The Four And Twenty Blackbirds.”

    bought the book after seeing the title for page 100, “Chivalry.”

    not sure if it’s printed elsewhere, but you’re always hearing that chivalry’s dead. so of course i have to see Neil’s take on it. it’s a very pleasant story about a knight of arthur’s court who has followed the holy grail to a little old lady in present day england.

    i loved it! i shan’t say anything more about it in the hopes that you yourself skipped it and can now rescue your book from the resale pile to discover something wonderful…

    Reply

  2. admin’s avatar

    Aw thanks for reading!

    First of all– don’t worry! I would NEVER put that book (or any book for that matter) in the resale pile…

    Well, I didn’t mean to sound so extremely harsh about all the other stories… I think they just didn’t really pop out like crazy in my mind (especially compared to other GNeil works). I will certainly go reread that one per your recommendation =)

    Reply

  3. Emera’s avatar

    I remember “Chivalry” from Smoke & Mirrors as being a very gentle, sweet story.

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  4. shaggykorean’s avatar

    i feel a bit guilty, i’m always walking in/walking out of my local used book store… it has been years on end since i’ve been to a library.

    the other story i liked was “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” this would place it in the teen/ young adult section. i agree that sexual innuendo sticks out in a children’s book but that’s where the wars are fought, when is introducing a concept ok? and when is it not? if the literature is well written enough i would hope any theme can be met.

    being a bit shy myself, this story intrigued me and i found myself in a place unfamiliar and so much so unerringly unearthly. i think Neil borrows from H.P. Lovecraft with the element of social awkwardness lost to something more seductive but what do these ladies ask in return?

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