Did you ever wonder what happened to those people that the Winchester brothers save? Or the ones that the Doctor meets on his travels, but leaves behind? Or just the ones that were not special or strong enough to be heroes or villains, but still had to find a way to come to terms with their “different-ness”? What happens to a person when they have been faced with horrifying supernatural events… and then just have to continue living?
“We Are All Completely Fine” by Daryl Gregory is the story of a therapy group for those people – the unusual ones. People who have survived gruesome and unbelievable events and lived to tell the tale. A psychotherapist, Dr. Jan Sayer, who has come to believe their strange tales has convinced the motley group of battered and haunted people to join group therapy sessions – which is exactly as absurd as it sounds. From the semi-famous, former boy monster hunter to the quiet girl hiding horror under her turtleneck and the man who cannot take off his glasses; the author manages to make them all human – fragile and strong and cowardly and brave all at once – in the best way, while never letting us forget their “otherness”.
I first came across Daryl Gregory a few years ago, when I saw the odd and haunting cover of his collection of short stories “Unpossible and Other Stories”. I quickly got a copy and essentially devoured the little tales of strange and unpredictable things. Gregory has a talent for writing lyrically about things that seem ordinary, but really are not – and manages to walk a fine line between weird, terrifying and beautiful.
With “We Are All Completely Fine”, Gregory manages that same task just as well, and for me, combining that skill with a choice of subject so unique and fascinating was a complete hit. There’s only one problem: with its 182 pages (and feeling even shorter) the story is too short – I want to know more about Greta the flaming girl, Harrison the monster slayer, Stan in the wheelchair, the optimist Dr. Sayer and the other freaks! And although I love short stories and novellas, and genuinely think that the story completely carries itself well despite its short lenght, I just wish there was more of it… And if that isn’t the very thing you want out of a story, then I don’t know what is.
If you’d like to see if Gregory’s writing is for you, most of his short stories are available to read for free on his blog.
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory; published in July 2014 by Tachyon Publications – I received a free copy of this e-book from the publisher in return for an honest review.