Josh Denslow’s short story collection Not Everyone Is Special didn’t start off on the best foot with me. There were a number of moments that were ableist, fat shaming, and casually racist in that covert “joking” kind of way. BUT it seemed like, more often than not, the characters had moments of clarity about their flaws and learned from them. I enjoyed all of the stories, but they got better and better as the collection went on. I’m very glad I kept reading. Some are speculative fiction, others are slice of life. “Extra Ticket” was my favorite by far (have tissues handy).
Denslow has a knack for diving deep into people’s emotions and thought processes. The characters aren’t always relatable, which I think made them all the more realistic and complex.
Pick up a copy of Not Everyone Is Special if you enjoy character-driven short stories with messy, imperfect characters.