I recently read Adam Wilson’s short story collection “What’s Important is Feeling: Stories,” and I have mixed emotions about it. But then again, that may well have been the entire point of the book. The stories in this collection are humorous, relatable, raw and heartfelt, so it’s not that Wilson’s writing disappoints. It’s just that that collection may have been too consistent for my taste in relation to it’s theme.
Most of the stories revolve around young men struggling with love, drugs, and transitioning into adulthood. Each story pulls at a separate heart string, plays with a different emotion, but there almost seems to be something missing. One story isn’t entirely different from the other but they aren’t duplicates either. It’s almost like I wanted to cry, wanted to get angry, wanted to laugh, but there was something lacking in the originality of it that was holding me back and I couldn’t break free of whatever it was.
This left me to wonder if this may have been the sole purpose of the book to begin with. It was intended to flirt with my emotions but never actually take them out on a date. Maybe it was up to me to make the first move, break through the plateau, and truly feel something. I didn’t hate a single story in the book but I didn’t love a single story in the book either.
My emotions are as mixed up as a thirteen year old girl with her first real crush. Wilson’s writing is solid and he knows how to capture the character of a twenty-something (I should know, I’m 23) but I wanted something more. If I knew what that something more was I would tell you. I tend to lean more towards diversity in short story collections than I do cohesiveness but I know that there are readers out there who do just the opposite.
I may not know how I feel about the collection yet, but I know I would recommend it if someone asked me if they should read it. I want to see what others think and feel about Wilson’s writing and if anyone agrees that the possible purpose of the book is to help you get in touch with your emotions in your own way.
If anyone else out there has read “What’s Important is Feeling: Stories” by Adam Wilson, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the book. To be honest, I’m baffled that I’m having such a difficult time forming a solid opinion of the collection because that just doesn’t happen to me very often. Most of the time I know pretty quick if I love or dislike a book. There’s just something different about this one that I can’t put my finger on.
For now I’m giving it 3.5 stars out of 5.