Read The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide by Schuler Benson Ryan Murray Patrick Traylor Leah Angstman Online


Twelve stories, fraught with an unapologetic voice of firsthand experience, that pry the lock off of the addiction, fanaticism, violence, and fear of characters whose lives are mired in the darkness of isolation and the horror and the hilarity of the mundane. This is the Deep South: the dark territory of brine, pine, gravel, and red clay, where pavement still fears to treaTwelve stories, fraught with an unapologetic voice of firsthand experience, that pry the lock off of the addiction, fanaticism, violence, and fear of characters whose lives are mired in the darkness of isolation and the horror and the hilarity of the mundane. This is the Deep South: the dark territory of brine, pine, gravel, and red clay, where pavement still fears to tread. (Features illustrations by talented artists Ryan Murray and Patrick Traylor.)...

Title : The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780692251195
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 146 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide Reviews

  • Lori
    2019-01-25 23:17

    Read 8/22/14 - 8/24/144 Stars - Strongly Recommended for fans of short stories that read like novels and beg for you to hold them and hug them and tell them everything will be okPages: 135Publisher: Alternating Current PressReleased: July 2014(Goodreads states that it took me two days to read this book. But you should know that I read the better part of its 135 pages in one sitting. Because once I got started, it was just so hard to put down.)Damn. I should have started writing the review for this book the moment I finished reading it. I feel as though, flipping through it now, nothing I say at this point will be able to properly capture the spell I was under as I was reading it. That magical grip is gone now... a memory I wish I could call back... sigh.This is Schuler Benson's debut - a collection of twelve stories that take place in what feels like an intimate southern town where everybody knows everyone else and strangers are never welcome. A place where your past will always haunt you. And a place you just can't seem to escape. It's a place that reeks of hopelessness and suffering. The kind that seeps into your pores and burrows deep inside you.It's a place Schuler created with pen and paper and yet it lives and breathes on the pages... Location is just as much a character in these stories as his characters are.The collection is broken out into three parts - The Heart, The Head, The Hands.The characters in the stories that are filed away under The Heart hold their struggles close to their chest; theirs is a sick love. In Pet Wife, a clouded perception is pulled sharply into focus when an unhappy wife stumbles across an abandoned lawn mower in a field. In the title story, a funeral parlor employee watches a mother grieve strangely over the loss of her little child as he deals with his own strange reaction to the inevitable death of his step-father.Those stories that are contained with The Head appear to deal with mental illness and broken minds. A beaten woman evolves into something inhuman under the hurtful hands of her husband in Ole Hazel. In Ace Damage, we see the effects of a cult following on a young woman and her adopted brother.Within The Hands, the pains these people suffer appear to be at their own hand or the hands of others. Queen Anne Black Din outlines the fear and ultimate release of a woman and the group of children she rescues from a shelter during a severe tornado storm. Cleaner Miranda tells the story of a super efficient bulimic woman. And then there's the chair that is set to burning out in the middle of nowhere in Grace.Through these stories, we are introduced to simple people who wake to find themselves in strange circumstances. And through his soothing, sentimental prose, the pain and prolonged suffering of Benson's characters awakens something inside of us. A tickle of fear, a pinprick of curiosity, an uncomfortable hitch in our chests.This won't be the last you see of Schuler Benson.

  • Eric
    2019-01-23 02:22

    I was given this book in order to provide a blurb, but I can say without reservation that there is no coloring of my opinion because of that. The Poor Man's Guide is a powerful collection of short stories. Benson has a voice that is every bit as muscular and jarring as his more well-known peers (Woodrell, Palahniuk, etc.) but brings to bear a surprising amount of heart--and perhaps more importantly, a kind of truthfulness to the telling of these stories. There is no overreaching, no shock for shock's sake. Benson is a storyteller for and of his people, and that is a rare thing. The Poor Man's Guide is a hell of a debut, and a great addition to regional literature.

  • Taylor Brown
    2019-02-17 04:35

    All I can say is: "Got-damn!" I honestly can't remember a voice this thrilling and fearless since Barry Hannah. These stories sing out at the edge of abandon, at the very edge of catching fire and burning you up. Schuler Benson is the real thing, and you should read this book before it internally combusts.

  • Leah Angstman
    2019-02-16 00:13

    I am the publisher of this book, so of course I'm biased, but the reason I published this book is because it is one of the most fantastic collections of stories I have ever read. Schuler's voice is vibrant and important and full of that honesty and intelligence that makes something really stick with you. He is writing about a world that he is mired in, and the experience and the details just pop to life right off the page. It is seriously an incredible book.

  • Al Kratz
    2019-02-12 01:25

    There is an authority and an honesty to this voice that will make you laugh and squirm at the same time. One of the blurbs called it the spawn of Palahniak and Hannah, but for me it more conjured Daniel Woodrell and maybe even Cormac McCarthy. But the best part of all of that, is this is simply a fresh new voice. Another generation's turn.

  • Pam Hulse
    2019-02-06 23:18

    I don't usually read short stories because they are short. Not enough time to spend with the characters. Not a problem with these stories. Mostly these characters are train wrecks I could not turn away from, and was relieved at each ending. Even though, I have already re-read the title story. And I know I will revisit Ace Damage. One exception, A Hindershot of Calion, characters I know, if not in reality, then probably their relatives. It's a sweet (and funny) story of second chances. I also found the last story laugh out loud hilarious. Favorite phrase, "a depth unfamiliar with digesting the dead."

  • Robert
    2019-01-24 03:20

    An incredible debut. Truly, this is the voice of a new literary talent that is bound to make waves. This collection is raw and real, heartfelt and powerful, and it should absolutely be on your radar.

  • Xian Xian
    2019-01-27 06:11

    I won this in a TNBBC Giveaway, Thanks! So I had seen this short story collection in multiple review sites and had this on a mental wish list. I was also on a short story collection binge and as soon as this was announced on TNBBC, of course, I went for it. I've seen this guy's name elsewhere, but I don't quite remember exactly where. But the cover is very distinctive and art plays a role in this book. The rising sun, the decrepit tree, and it's roots. I believe the bucket represents something, but I'm not sure what. The interiors consist of drawings too. The scratchy artwork fits the gritty nature of the book and some of them I actually found kind of amusing because I'm a sick soul. The whole style of this collection is a cycle of stories that seem to take place in the same area amongst the same group of people in a Southern town that seems to be rather deep in the dumps. Dumps as in darkness and vile people. There's violence and drugs, spiteful kids and dysfunctional people, religious fanatics and all of the things that make most of Southern gothic literature.And I honestly haven't read much of that genre of literature. The only thing I have read that is probably close to that genre was To Kill a Mocking Bird and a few pages of Ellen Foster. But I'm not unfamiliar with southern talk. But I don't know, I read so many positive reviews, but my feelings for this were quite mixed.The collection started off good and the whole elements of the collection, that feels like a novel, was already built within the first two stories. Dysfunction and violence in a small town where drugs and failed escapes seem to be the only ways out. But I don't know maybe my brain was just finally get fried during the reading of this collection. Because I can say that it is brilliant, but I felt like giving up. Not because it was bad, but because I was just not in the mood to read this, but at the same time I wanted to finish it to see what would happen and for discussion purposes. But I guess it could also be the levels of depression in this story collection, I actually thought that this was a Dystopian collection, not a Southern Goth collection. If any of you reading this have recommendation for Southern Goth other than Cormac McCarthy, who I hope to get to at some point in my life because my school library has a whole collection of his writings, go ahead, and recommend them in the comments section. I always feel like long short stories are my least favorite, unless the story is a novella by itself. I guess I can say that I get burnout while reading short stories. Because of my favorites in this collection are the shorter ones. I think I got tired by the time I reached the 80s, which had one of the longest short stories. The writing style is actually pretty comprehensible compared to other Southern Goth lit that I have flipped through. It was written in plain old English and sometimes I do find, recently I found, that it is hard for me to get into stories written in third person. But then I keep thinking that maybe I do sort of like this story collection, because I enjoyed most of them, but mostly the short ones. But I guess I can say that this collection was nothing new to me, other than being really messed up, which was the point, gloom and doom. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it at all.So here's the favorite stories:VisqueenThe Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless SuicidePet WifeA Hindershot of CalionOle HazelQueen Anne Black DinCleaner MirandaGraceStroke TestRating: 3.5/5

  • Leesa
    2019-02-12 00:13

    RAD STUFF, HERE. Benson is goodgood. THIS IS WHAT I WROTE ABT THIS BOOK: "Schuler Benson's writing is a record scratch, a fat marker graffiti-squeaking across a perfectly clean bathroom wall, a porcupine in a studded leather jacket. "The Poor Man's Guide To An Affordable, Painless Suicide" is a violent, bloody heartbeat of a collection—a flashing red siren of words—a hot, stinging slap of stories."AND IT IS TRUE. <3

  • Neal
    2019-02-15 07:27

    A collection of eery and, at times, very disturbing stories, written in a style that portrays a vivid sense of time and place. The characters are described economically, yet it feels as if you have always known them or people like them. The places they occupy are heavily, almost oppressively atmospheric, like the heat of a desert sun. The stories are powerful and thought-provoking. More to come? I hope so!

  • Ryan Werner
    2019-02-17 01:20

    This one hits the seedy parts of the south just right, the sort of culture that's more likely to show up in an Acid Bath or Weedeater song. I struggled with the dialect when it got heavy, but the pictures painted are clear: sometimes things are silver just to make the black look darker.

  • Sam Slaughter
    2019-02-04 02:13

    A very forceful collection of stories. They hit hard and they hit fast in all good ways. Benson's characters are dark, and they revel in that--in turns depressing and hilarious. A quick read that is more than worthwhile.

  • Melody
    2019-01-28 03:38

    I received this book via Goodread Giveaway. Very entertaining, however, the stories were a little confusing.

  • Nate
    2019-02-07 04:27

    Disclaimer I know Schuler Benson personally from our college days. I was, however, not asked or coerced to review this book. I feel better disclosing this even though I think it had little effect in what I thought of it, however I would not have come upon it had I not known him. I was unlucky enough never to have a writing class with him. Or perhaps this was in fact a kind of luck as it didn't shade my opinion and I am reading a majority of these pieces for the first time. And I Heard A Voice Amidst the Four Beasts If I were to give the book a genre it would be something close to Pulp Southern. Sometimes books can become slaves to their blurbs. Aside from being transgressive/violent fiction it is not in the same county or domain of Literature's Chucky. It is just different. Patois figures prominently. Voice of narration, voice of characters. It's a voice rusted in Southern landfills, echoing with the influence of God and the Bible. A character speaks of God and it feels cheap, without reverence, trying to conjure up power ineffectual. The characters feel like rag dolls subjecting each other to vengeful voodoo. The voice can be unironed in parts. The best murmations are evoked in subtlety. For instance in "Grace": But for the grace of God, there go I. One day, all this could be mineWe smoked cigarettes and were alone.Alternative... Or perhaps we could label it Alternative Southern. Alternating Press is the publisher and in the race to restore value to the printed word they enlisted the help of artists Patrick Traylor and Ryan Murray. Hand-drawn illustrations speckle the pages. In some cases it disrupts the physical text and splits lines so they read like fragmental poetry. In others they are safely sequestered to corners of the page. Only now flipping through the pages, (not your now, but my now, perhaps it is all the same), do I really stop and look at them. In his author's note Benson points to musical albums that employ intricate artwork that he has grown up loving. Curious to see if this trend expands in books as a whole. I don't know that they make the stories any better, but it's a reminder that book is not reducible to just the compilation of stories.What Light? The book is light. Many of the stories are generously short, conscious that overwriting, while alluring, is not always correct. The longest, "Ace Damage" stretches nearly 50 pages, however. Documenting two families at war in their hearts with each other. The Bible thumping has failed to deliver the redemption preached and craved for, so each character seems to want to find normalcy, shelter from the storm, calm from the burden of her cross.Three Stars Short story collections are tough to rate. In some sense you are trying to aggregate feelings, which is not always easy or comfortable. There is either a simple morality or an exhausted amorality running current in this collection. It is easy to judge the characters or else impossible. But it is always judging. You sit cloaked in black listening to the defendant wondering what he did to the better angels of his nature. You would like to hear a little from them, even to know they exist.

  • TheBookishHobo
    2019-01-30 07:21

    The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is the debut collection of stories by Schuler Benson. The stories center on the inhabitants of rural America and for the most part are quite dark and gritty.The characters and their stories are distinctively simplistic and yet they pack quite a punch, but not in the way you might expect. Often with short stories there is this shock and awe when you reach the end. Here, something different happens. There is a palpable sadness intricately weaved throughout the book with a sprinkle of humor here and there. The heavy impact of the stories sneaks up on you and slaps you right in the face when you reach the end of the collection. It hits you, how very much you loved everyone you met. And more than that, how very much you can relate to these ordinary, everyday people. And you find yourself wanting to start reading it all over again.It is evident that Benson’s muse threw a noose around his heart; the stories bled onto the page. And it feels as though he has left more than just a piece of himself in each of these stories; he’s left a piece of all of us.

  • Kevin Snow
    2019-02-07 00:36

    I read multiple stories from Poor Man's Guide before release to provide a blurb, but grabbed my own copy after release.In the preface, Benson compares the structure of Poor Man's Guide to a music album. Many of the stories, with their short bursts of imagery, made me think of a punk show. The characters never overstay their welcome or leave too soon; like an intriguing stranger, you learn enough about their lives to want to know more -- or enough to know you don't. The longer pieces, like Ace Damage (reminiscent of a Jeff Nichols film, with its violent, Southern conflict), are paced just as well. Read as a collection, the stories express a familiar frustration with the South, where Benson seems to reject its culture as much as he identifies with it.Special note should be made to the artwork from Ryan Murray and Patrick Taylor, which introduces each of the book's three sections and the stories. Though the forthcoming e-book will surely be well-designed, this is a beautiful release, similar to Jean Toomer's Cane, and I recommend the print edition to anyone interested in the aesthetic of books.

  • Carmen Lau
    2019-02-02 07:18

    The voice in this collection of stories drew me in right away. Benson has a gift for voice, tone, language. Each story has carefully crafted sentences -- some of them sing. Some books provide an atmosphere for the reader to breathe in and exist in -- this is one of them. There is a nice mix of longer and shorter (flash) stories. The flash stories showcase the language and are a treat. "Cleaner Miranda" is probably the loveliest description of bulimia you can come across. The longest story, "Ace Damage," is the most tense, edge-of-my-seat story I've read in a while and shows what Benson can do with the longer form. I don't want to spoil it, but it involves a religious cult, visions, and fire. I only wish there were more. If Benson ever puts out a novel, it's sure to be an insane, thoroughly entertaining rollercoaster ride. So I am hoping he does, soon.I'd liken this to Cormac McCarthy's Son of God more than anything by Palahniuk. It is darkly funny and evocative, and refreshingly different.

  • Steph Post
    2019-02-01 07:27

    Brilliant, disturbing and written with a startling grace, this collection of short stories will change you. The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is not for passive readers. It is for readers who want to experience conflicting emotions and look at the world from a point of view they had previously never considered. It is for fans of classic storytelling and risk-taking style. With this collection, Benson proves that the short story genre has never been stronger.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-13 03:08

    A fabulous dark and twisty collection from the excellent Schuler Benson. The South springs up and is tamed with sardonic fire and lyrical prose. Seriously though, this guy's dialects are spot on. "Ace Damage" takes the creepy cake with a perfect combination of pyromania and snake-handling (look it up then read). With negligible exceptions, these stories can stand up on their own.

  • Marvin
    2019-01-24 23:24

    Short but full collection of hard-hitting stories centered around drugs and violence and poverty in rural/small-town Arkansas (or mostly there, I reckon). Good ear for the way people speak. Some great flash-length stories. Designed to read like a record--a playlist. Though I's a little deaf to that. Enjoyably heartbreaking all the way around.

  • Rickilee
    2019-02-07 07:21

    Well-written modern southern gothic. My favorite story in the collection hands down is "Ace Damage."

  • Jayson Shenk
    2019-02-17 01:33

    Authentic to the rural experience.