Susan Perabo’s newest release, Why They Run the Way They Do is a very enjoyable collection of short stories. Her characters are real, honest and memorable. Her stories are heartfelt and show all the ways that we interact and relate to each other. Perabo’s stories are not overly wordy or descriptive. They are witty, energetic and surprising. The stories show the give and take between two people in the middle of affairs, friendships, and relationships. The stories illustrate people banding together and falling apart.
The collection contains twelve medium length (10-20 page) stories that illuminate the human experience of interaction and getting along. In “Michael the Armadillo,” a daughter’s new toy brings up old memoris and feelings about a wife’s earlier affair, to be dealt with all over again. In “This is Not That Story,” Perabo tells the tragic story of a boy from the viewpoints of those around him. Two young girls find an ingenious way to make some extra money in “The Payoff.” A man deals with the death of his dog while his ex-wife and son are away on vacation. A woman struggles with her sister’s change in direction after it seemed the plans were already set. There were so many great stories; it was hard to choose the ones to highlight here.
Why They Run the Way They Do is a quick read with stories that will linger after their end. Perabo takes care to ensure each story is well written–complex, multi-faceted and clever. At the end of each, I felt like I had been lost and wandering (in a good way) through the world of the characters and getting caught up in the drama surrounding them. It seemed like the stories were quite big, almost like finishing a novel in one sitting. I found myself taking breaks between them. Well worth the read and picking up her other works as well. Richard Russo, on the cover of my edition, describes Perabo well, “There’s only one way to read Susan Perabo, and that’s breathlessly.”
Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.