Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Astonishing Tales! Your Astonishment May Vary is a collection of humorous essays and stories written by Matt Geiger. Who is Matt Geiger and is he really still alive? In his opening story, Geiger relates his experiences growing up in the shadow of the much more famous NBA player, Matt Geiger, and receiving anonymous envelopes with clippings about his alter-ego in his school locker. Matt Geiger, the NBA player, loomed so much larger in so many ways, not least of which was his physical height and solid physique. Then there was his palatial retreat boasting eight bathrooms, a bass-stocked lake and a herd of bison. How could a geeky, somewhat portly kid compete with that? And then, there was his sense of loss at hearing of his more famous self’s misfortunes, the back taxes and forced sale of that mansion. And what about the bison and the one lone donkey?
Matt Geiger’s collection of humorous essays and stories managed to keep my astonishment at a fairly high and consistent level. As I began reading, I soon found myself Googling Matt Geiger, not the author, the other Matt Geiger, and couldn’t help but seek out pictures of the mansion and its inhabitants. I loved sharing the author’s ruminations over whether that Matt ever wondered about this one, and found myself wistfully imagining that they would somehow manage to meet or at least enjoy a chat someday. His essay, Horse Baby, is hilarious and kept me happily occupied picturing him sliding, slipping and extravagantly falling awash in conditioner and shampoos. While I don’t really have much of a sense of humor and am not terribly partial to short stories, I had a grand time reading every word of every essay and story. Many of them are astonishing to some degree or other; all of them are marvelous and funny — and very, very human. Astonishing Tales! Your Astonishment May Vary is most highly recommended.