"Picture This" Book Review
Written by Vic Bobb
2011, 19 pages, Fiction
Released on November 28th, 2011
Historical fiction can be damn interesting if handled correctly. Historical supernatural fiction is even cooler. Just picture the army fighting Nazi zombies and you're set. Picture This, the latest short story from author Vic Bobb, doesn't have Nazi zombies, but it does have a bit of the weird.
The story takes place in Poland in 1935, where a teenage boy named Stanisław Grynberg is given a camera for his birthday. He excitedly snaps some photos of his friends and family around town and then waits patiently for the film to be developed. Things look normal, except for a single picture that shows something that just wasn't there when the photo was taken. This is strange at first, but it continues to happen with every roll of film.
It's pretty easy to see where the short story is going once you get started. The premise isn't bad, but I feel like it's something I've seen before. More importantly, it's not all that interesting. It's what I'd expect from a Goosebumps book.
My biggest problem with Picture This isn't the setup but the characters' names. I understand that this takes place in Poland in the 1930s and people probably aren't called Jeff and Susie over there, but some of the names are tough to pronounce and harder to tell apart as they're mostly a bunch of z's and w's and letters with slashes through them. They all started to blend together pretty quickly for me.
Despite this, Picture This packs a helluva punch when it comes to the ending. It pops out of nowhere and hit me like a punch to the gut. It's so quick, too. It's there and then bam, the book is over and you're left wondering about the ramifications of what you just read. If it wasn't for the ending, I'd have given this a lower rating.