Have you ever read a story that felt so real, so autobiographical, you were sure the author had lived it? That’s how I felt about each story in Other Household Toxins, a collection of flash fiction by Christopher Allen. The conundrum is that he couldn’t have been each of the widely varying characters—different sexes, different nationalities, different eras. And some of the events aren’t possible—look at the picture on the cover of the book and you’ll see what I mean. What am I getting at? I’m saying that the writing is so real you’ll enjoy every word.

Christopher Allen’s writing is what poetry wants to be: full of surprises, thoughtful turns of phrases, and quotable bits—yet approachable. I appreciate writing that packs a lot into fewer words.

Things got personal when I turned to the story, “When Susan Died the First Time.” I wasn’t sure I was going to like reading about my deaths. But I was won over by the end, laughing and reveling in the story’s sheer originality. It’s one of my favorites.

Another of my favorites is “Census.” I’m not sure how to describe a story that begins with “Bring out yer cows!” and do it justice. Wacky isn’t a good enough word. This story is why I bought the book in the first place. It was worth it just for that, though you’ll like the others too.

If you haven’t figured it out, I recommend you buy this book. Let me know which story was your favorite and why.

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