2.5 stars. I was tempted to give this three stars, because a lot of my reaction wasn't that these stories were bad, just that they weren't for me. But boy, were they not for me.My first exposure to Kelly Link's writing was through her YA collection Pretty Monsters: Stories. I loved it. "Magic for Beginners" is still one of my all-time favorite stories. So I was excited to read her two adult collections, this and Magic for Beginners. I started with this, her earlier collection, and proceeded to be extremely disappointed.For the most part, these stories reminded me unpleasantly of my least favorite literature classes in college, the ones where all the pretentious English majors would say things like, "I loved how the diamond motif perfectly reflected the unyielding nature of the protagonist's attitude toward motherhood," and I would be all, "Uhh, I liked the bit with the dog. It was funny and sad at the same time, which is, you know, cool." Which is to say, these stories weren't fun to read. They were work, full of clever symbolism and literary styling, but not entertaining. And most of the time I felt like the stories were going right over my head, which is a pretty depressing reading experience.There were a few stories I thought were okay, and one, "Vanishing Act," that I really liked a lot, but overall, I'll leave this one to the pretentious English majors.This collection can be downloaded for free from the publisher's website here.