Fourth Degree Freedom by Libby Heily Book Review
Fourth Degree Freedom explores the best of humanity and the worst. The stories range from hopeful realism to the dystopian side of speculative fiction. Each story twists and turns through darkness and light, settling somewhere in the shadowy area of day to day life.
Thank You For Calling - A young woman fights to keep her sanity, her marriage and her hope while working in a call center.
The Event - Do the youth decide to go along with the government's plan to rid the population of the elderly, or will they fight back?
Fourth Degree Freedom - A family, shunned by neighbors and friends, struggles with their youngest son, a boy that was literally born a monster.
The Last Six Miles - Samantha has hit rock bottom. Her husband has left her and her only source of comfort is junk food. Her slip into depression seems inevitable until she discovers running. Samantha begins the long journey from barely being able to jog a minute to completing her first marathon.
She Floats - If you woke up and didn't know where you were, would you panic? What if you were trapped in a giant aquarium?
Fourth Degree Freedom is a collection of 5 short stories blending dystopia with the everyday fight. Each are profound and imaginative. The pieces take you into the lives of a woman working at a call center, two young men armed to kill, a family with a child that has an obscure birth 'defect', a woman getting over a divorce, and a young woman who's trapped. Each story seems to compliment the other, and yet be in separate dimensions as well. The only piece that seemed so obscure that it didn't quite connect with the rest was The Event. This story was maddeningly violent and disheartening, but in such a good way, and will need multiple reads in order to decipher the depth of it.
The stories that really capture my heart are "Fourth Degree Freedom", "The Last Six Miles", and "She Floats". These pieces truly showed Heily's talent for characterization and plot. She placed them in bizarre situations that suck you in! I wondered how she came up with such wildly brilliant scenarios. Heily made me care deeply for each of the characters represented throughout these pieces, and I couldn't help but feel connected to them and their lives. There were points where I was stunned at the profundity of the message being captured. "She Floats" was the perfect piece to end the collection, as it seems to draw each piece to a hopeful close. Heily's writing style is very simplistic and measured, making each word count.
I'm purposely choosing not to go into great detail about any of the stories because I want readers to discover each world for themselves! Every piece is worth reading, taking in, and mulling over.
Fourth Degree Freedom is collection filled with short and sweet stories that are each brilliant in their own way.
I give Fourth Degree Freedom by Libby Heily 4 out of 5 cups of Earl Grey!