This book is, indeed, what I expected.
How did I predict the landscape of this book?
The title blares self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe that’s just me.
You Are Not What We Expected is a short story collection in which the stories indirectly share characters, not unlike an ensemble film.
An aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the setting, a Jewish community. I enjoyed looking up some of the Hebrew words and discovering some to which I was not privy. If you read this book, just know that I had a hard time not picturing Isaac, my favorite character, as Junior Soprano with George Costanza’s voice.
It’s very likely that the story two stories after the one you just read will have the literary equivalent of a reverse shot of a scene you just read. Don’t get me wrong, this is a clever literary device! It would just be cooler if I didn’t predict it the employment of said clever literary device.
Yes, I did enjoy the book at first. However, I knew my journey with it would come to a premature end when I realized that the stories followed an annoyingly similar formula. Sometimes you can enjoy the formula if it’s mixed with the right flavor of writing, but this one didn’t have it for me.
There are some moments, at least one per story, that took my heart strings and served them a good yank. Alas, the yank was in the vein of a kid sibling tugging hair and not the pull of a book that could keep my attention.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the ARC!
Only happy reading.