Well well well, isn’t this book a bit different? A collection of short stories! I don’t read many of them, but I love them. A way to mix things up and speed right through many different stories, what’s not to love?
Not only that, but this book handles so many topics. I hear about it, and just thought “YEP, I’ll have that thanks.”
So when Walker Books offered me this book, I snapped at the chance.
Let’s dive right in!
At a time when we are seeing a surge in hate crimes in the UK, Here I Stand is all too relevant. The stories and poems confront many horrors, but they also speak for freedom, solidarity and activism.
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion*
Oh, where to start with this book.
A collection of short stories, poems and even a couple of doodles/comic strips, you get so many things in this book. They all handle topics relating to the rights of freedom – of course, all of which being quite large, heavy subjects. But considering they’re short stories, they’re done really well. They’re the sort of story where just enough is said. The rest is self explanatory.
With the topics being heavy, there’s probably a whole host of trigger warnings needed. The one’s I spotted were suicide, child abuse, child exploitation and trafficking. But that’s not to say I didn’t miss any. And also, I’d be wary if you’re part of a minority group and get hurt by harmful comments easily, because with it being based on the fight for freedom, it also points out prejudices and injustices. With that comes insults to minorities. Not in a way that endorses them, thankfully, but still I just felt I ought to mention it in case it hurts any potential readers.
An example: There’s a story about a girl, during which she gets heckled with insults and shunned from friends for being a lesbian.
So yes, anyway. Now all of the warnings are given, onto the rest.
With every turn of the page, I was fascinated to see what topic would come up next. It was such a wide array, from immigration to oil spills to the suffragettes. I especially loved it when the authors left notes at the end of their story, explaining why they wrote about that specific topic. Something about that made it more personal.
And they’re all topics we know about. They’re all things we’ve heard about before. But too often, we just think “oh it doesn’t happen that often, it’s nothing to worry about”. But this book just shows exactly why we should be worrying about it, and not just leave it to the people suffering to fight.
Obviously, I liked some stories more than others. They’re all different topics and different authors, there’s no doubt they’d take on various styles. But I honestly think they all fit together really well as a book too, and I’d love to come back to this book in the future when looking for new author to discover. It’s the perfect thing to trial each author, especially with there being a mix of authors I’ve heard of – like Neil Gaiman and Frances Hardinge – and authors that are new to me.
I’m really glad I read this book. Though not a favourite, I enjoyed it in the way I read about hard topics without it being too hard hitting, since you’d move on after a few pages. They left their mark, without being too much. I don’t know. It was just exactly what I wanted at the time, and I feel like this is a book I’ll revisit quite a few times.
Rated 3.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
If you haven’t, do you plan to?
Do you have any other short story bind ups you’d recommend?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!