Saturday, 7 October 2017

DONKEY BOY and other stories by Mary Smith @marysmithwriter

4 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: It was submitted to Rosie Amber's Review Team, of which I am a member.  Two years ago I read No More Mulberries by this author, which I liked a lot.

This is an interesting and diverse collection of stories, set in several locations, from Scotland to Pakistan, where the author lived for a while.  Some of them were written as monologues, which have been performed.

I liked those set in Pakistan best, my very favourite being Accidents Happen, about a girl whose mother marries a man she hates.  I liked it so much I read it again, straight away.  I also liked Donkey Boy itself, about a little boy who has to work for his father instead of going to school, and Trouble with Socks, about the sort of ghastly, patronising auxiliary in a care home who thinks that physically disabled means mentally deficient.  The last one, a longer story called The Thing In Your Eye, was interesting.  A woman believes she sees evil in people in their eyes; this left me a little unsure, as I didn't know if we were meant to think it was all in her mind (as everyone else does), or if she really could 'read' people.  

They're all unusual, with a theme of private sadness.  I liked a very short one called My Name is Anya, too, about an Afghani girl adopted by Scottish parents.  They're ideal for a nice bit of lying on the sofa, afternoon reading when you're not in the mood for complicated plots.


  1. Thank you so much for this great review, Terry. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the stories. I almost didn't include Accidents Happen but someone who read the stories pre-publication said it should be in. Now I'm very glad I included it. As for The Thing in Your Eye - well, I deliberately left it open for the reader to decide. Was that unfair? I was beginning to think I'd never write any more fiction (it's been a while) but now I believe I can and will so many thanks.

    1. I took it that she WAS psychic, because of the bit in the paper...!

      I liked that; I did something similar in my book You Wish. It was about a psychic who felt guilty about taking money off the gullible public when she was a charlatan, but as the book goes on the reader sees that she actually DOES have a 'gift'... I don't make a big deal of it, it's for the reader to notice, like in your story!

      I've found in the past that it's interesting to see which stories readers like best. And I know what you mean about losing confidence in your ability to write good fiction, but don't worry, you can!