I had a very limited sample size of Paul Michael Anderson prior to reading Bones Are Made to be Broken. In fact, to my knowledge, it was a single story that happens to be included in this collection, an immensely unsettling story of two boys and their asshole father that I enjoyed that story enough to read it again.
This is a telltale marker of this collection.
The most valuable asset in any story, from my perspective anyhow, is a conveyance of humanity that feels natural. Second that with an understanding of surroundings, many great authors fail at writing disenfranchisement, poverty, frustration, and a helplessness from a sense of a social birthright. Paul Michael Anderson digs into these difficult issues and brings out every hard surface and does so with such a realistic light the pain shared becomes your pain.
Gutting and deep-reaching, this collection dangles the dark side and delivers with such potency it’s difficult to imagine something better or more impactful. Strong writing blooms into something truly awesome with the emotion poured into these stories.
Some are very good, while others, Baby Grows a Conscience, The Doorway Man and Surviving the River Styx are great. Others yet are incredible works of range and breadth –Love Song for the Rejected, The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) and the title novella, Bones are Made to be Broken.
These stories stick to the skull and grey matter as if tacked, demanding that the characters and the dread they carry/instil live on long beyond reading. An absolute must read collection.