All Because of You is a collection of short stories by Isobel Blackthorn. The organizing theme for the stories is seeking refuge, whether women seeking refuge in a shelter, a daughter seeking it with her mother or an immigrant seeking refuge in another country.

Some of the stories were moving. I particularly liked the generational short story Mother’s Day that opened the collection. A woman and her daughter flee her abusive husband who is threatening to take the daughter away and her mother goes into shelter with her. Their closeness was deeply affecting.

The stories are organized into four thematic collections, Refugees, The Wayward Daughter, Abusers, and Hope. I find it odd that two of the stories that showed there is hope were narrated by men and the third, the person who found hope is not the person the story is about. That is sad. Most of these stories are sad.

The Wayward Daughter was particularly disturbing because it is the story of the headlong pursuit of the wrong man. The collection of stories of Abusers had one particularly powerful story where a woman who desperately needs therapy goes to an abusive therapist. I guess if my anxieties came from several disastrous relationships with men, I would not go to a male therapist.

2pawsWhile there are some affecting and emotionally moving stories in this collection, particularly the first two stories, Mother’s Day and The Moon Circle, some of the stories were not particularly interesting. A few did not really fit into the collection. Strangely, the title story “All Because of You” was the most discordant.

The prose is fine. It’s the actual story that fails for me. Blackthorn is best with dialogue, including the alternately amusing and heartbreaking run-on dialogue of the hairdressing gossip. What is missing for me, though, is an understanding of why some of the stories need telling. There feels like there is no “there” there and I was bored. In truth, I kept going to finish mainly because there was not that much left to read. I am glad I did because the last story is another one of the better ones.

I was provided a review copy by the publisher through NetGalley.

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