Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories by Kevin Wilson
She is a fake grandma. Although she has never had any family herself, at 56 she works for a company called Grand Stand-In, which specializes in providing grandparents to families that don’t have them. After all, as many people are waiting longer to get married and have children, many parents find themselves without living parents of their own and feel that their children are missing out on the experience of having grandparents. A Grand Stand-In can function like a regular grandparent, but can be easily killed off when the relationship becomes tedious. She loves being a Grand Stand-In, until she stands in for a family that challeneges her ideas of right and wrong.
Quirky, yes? This is the epitome of Kevin Wilson’s book of short stories, the story I think was the very best in the entire collection. If you like short stories, or you like quirky, “Tunneling to the Center of the Earth” is something you should check out. The only problem with quirky is that different types/examples of quirky don’t work equally well for everyone. Everything in this collection was well-written, but I definitely had a range of not really liking, liking alright, and really liking the different stories. The title story, for example, was enjoyable enough, but didn’t do much for me. My favorites were the first, ‘Grand Stand-In,’ the second, and the last. Interestingly, these were 3 of the 4 stories that particularly centered around people with quirky jobs, instead of people with quirky families or those who were just quirky, so evidently that is what most appeals to me. Because of this difference in quirky tolerance levels, I’m guessing that most people won’t love every story in this collection, but that many people will find at least a couple stories they think are fantastic.
Want to check out the quirkiness for yourself?
Hmm, I wonder if I can say ‘quirky’ a few more times. Quirky, quirky, quirky. There. Done.