Monday, May 10, 2010

Reader's Diary #610- Charlie Fish: Death By Scrabble

Those of us faithful Short Story Monday participants have latched onto to a few stories in the past year. Each week we review different short stories or collections, but occasionally we'll all be so intrigued by another's review that a bunch of us end up reviewing the same story. That was the case with T.C. Boyle's "Chicxulub," Nicola Slade's, "My Dear Miss Fairfax," and now Charlie Fish's "Death By Scrabble."

First reviewed by Margot at "Joyfully Retired," then reviewed last week by both Teddy Rose and Carol. Always one to succumb to peer pressure, I decided to jump onto the bandwagon this week.

There's not a lot to add to what the others have said. I agree that it's funny, though darkly so (the opening sentence reads, "It's a hot day and I hate my wife.") It's also, as Carol pointed out, not "a work of literary genius," but it is entertaining. It seemed more like a screenplay for a lighter Twilight Zone episode, or a Simpsons Halloween special short, than a typical short story. It's quickly paced, not heavy on the descriptions, and very plot driven. There's somewhat of a twist at the end, but the way it's set up, you'd at least figure out that something was going to go different than planned.

I was not surprise to find that author Charlie Fish is also a screenwriter. On an amusing side note, when I looked for a photo of Charlie to accompany this post* I happened upon the above photo on his wife's blog. In that particular post, and a few others, she mentions playing Scrabble with her husband. Let's hope their real life Scrabble matches have much less animosity than the one featured in this story.

Wondering if "Death By Scrabble" had in fact been turned into a short film, I went to see what I could find on YouTube. It turns out there are of dozens of versions, including ones with live actors, animations, and even a radio play. I chose this one because I like the quirky art work. However, the director made a few changes to the plot here or there that were unnecessary and tended to weaken the story.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)

*While I always choose an author's photo to accompany my Short Story Monday posts, I've never gotten permission from an author, a photographer, agent, or publishing company to do so. I figure that I'm helping promote their stories (even when a review is negative), so most people probably wouldn't object to its usage. But while I've never been asked to take down a photo, I would certainly do so if asked.


JoAnn said...

You convinced me.. I had to read Death by Scrabble, too!

Margot said...

The video is an excellent rendition of the story. I'm so glad you did all the research. It helps add to the fun of the story.

I have a short story post this week. It's here.

Unknown said...

I'm coming over to Monday's at last. I'm going to try for two stories a month and see how it goes. I've not read Death by Scrabble yet, but maybe...

Here's my story review:

John Mutford said...

JoAnn: It looks like none of us can resist!

Margot: I don't know if you're familiar with Canada's National Film Board cartoons, but this one has that sort of feel.

C.B. James: So glad to have you with us!!!

Harvee said...

Creepy story - scrabble brings out the discord between the couple, to the bitter end! Clever.

My mailbox

Allison said...

Loved this!

The Boy and I just spent our weekend evenings playing Scrabble, so I found this quite amusing. I'm going to steal the clip and repost.

Anonymous said...

It's a cute story, isn't it?

I went with a science fiction piece this week.

Loni said...

I guess I'm going to have to read Death By Scrabble.

This week I decided to visit a Romantic.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I liked this story! Nice concept, nice twist, and I liked the sparenes of the writing.