Family means different things to different people, and Tori Bond explores what family means in her debut, flash-fiction collection, Familyism. Whether her stories consist of children spending time in nature and performing plays or townspeople, sitting in a bar and dreaming of a way out, Bond is able to create entire worlds with a sparsity of words. Bond captures the essence of the mundane as well as the extraordinary; she immerses us in the surreal and magical but keeps us rooted through her skillful exploration of human emotion. The author has the unique ability to make the reader feel deeply; her stories are crafted with care and are guaranteed to fill the reader with wonder. The powerful endings of each story will leave readers mesmerized.
Bond uses her ability to make the reader laugh, but Familyism goes beyond simply being funny; Familyism is equally sad and profound and joyful. While reading, I found the veins of isolation, loneliness, and the yearning for escape crashing over me like a wave. Characters experience the loneliness of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the settings of the stories don’t offer characters an escape. Again, the reader is drawn into a world of powerful emotion. Regardless of the intensity of feeling Familyism elicits, Bond masterfully balances emotion through her well-timed use of narration and humor.
I highly recommend Familyism; It is not just a book, it is an experience! The book is a quick read, and the stories flow easily. You will ponder, question, and reminisce. This book could make you laugh out loud, so I don’t recommend reading it in public.