Thank you to Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Emma Cline’s short story collection, Daddy: Stories, in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed Cline’s debut novel, The Girls, and I was thrilled to be given a copy of her latest work, Daddy: Stories. I love a good short story collection and as much as I was impressed by The Girls, Cline truly shines in the short story format. They are all page-turners. I bet you can’t read just one without going to the next. Cline is masterful with tension in the short story format. She grips the reader, ending her stories at the exact perfect moment that leaves a lingering sense of wonder about the character’s next move. This collection is haunting.
Cline’s stories are incredibly uncomfortable. They deal with queasy, taboo topics like adultery, addiction, and the sexualization of children. None of her stories are easy. Reading Daddy: Stories is an experience akin to watching a horror movie, where I physically felt my body curl into a ball and my eyes turning to slits, to protect myself as I continued with the horrific situations that the characters were placed in.
Thank goodness not every story or character was relatable, but those that were, added another level of cringe. I guarantee that you will see some of your own terrible, dark traits reflected back to you in Cline’s characters. I felt it most in Marion, where an innocent preteen girl gets wrapped up in the deceptions of an older teen.
Daddy: Stories is one of my top reads for 2020 and a must if you gravitate towards short stories. Cline is a fearless writer with complex characters. Steady yourself for a bumpy, uncomfortable ride. Also be prepared to have these stories linger in your mind for a good week after finishing.