The Littlest Hitler: Stories

by Ryan Boudinot

Paperback, 2007





Counterpoint, (2007)

User reviews

LibraryThing member charisjoy
The first story in this collection, "The Littlest Hitler", is an oddly heart-warming story about a kid that dresses up as Hitler for Halloween. The premise itself is unexpected but the characters seem to deal with this unusual event as you honestly would expect them to. Every other story in the collection deals with similarly unexpected premises but the characters do not respond accordingly. The author seems to feel that his creativity can stop at coming up with slightly ridiculous but not wholly unheard of premises and does not need to extend to the other elements of the story. I get what he's going for- take a normal suburban family with the normal problems but add a twist by making the mom a cannibal. I get that he's trying to break us out of our status quo. But after five or six of the stories, you realize that there's nothing to his fiction and to his writing prowess other than the unexpected premise. The stories start to feel like exasperated formulas.… (more)
LibraryThing member donp
No, I didn't just give this five stars just 'cos. I was debating between 3 and 4 stars, actually--there were a couple of stories whose endings really fell flat for me. The tale "So Little Time" pushed this collection over the top, because I remember being twelve years old and a Doctor Who fan, trying to cobble a Tom Baker costume together. I was the sort of dungeon master who designed traps like placing a Trapper underneath a Lurker Above just for those annoying player friends of mine whose characters did have names like The Annihilator and have a trillion hit points. Boudinot wrote about that world in much the same way Barry Hannah wrote about the South, with a voice that's spare, full of momentum, and very aware.… (more)
LibraryThing member urthona73
I generally enjoy books that I would call part of the New Weird, which some of the stories in this book could be considered (depending on the definition), but the stories I enjoyed the most were the ones that had the least amount of fantasy in them, like "So Little Time" and "Newholly". There's definitely horror in both of these stories, but its a sort of everyday horror. In general, the rest of the stories in the collection are well-written, but these two stories in particular made me hope that he pursues the same vein for material in the future.… (more)
LibraryThing member Djupstrom
One great story, one good story, and a bunch of mediocre ones.
LibraryThing member RatSoup
Some pretty humorous short stories.
LibraryThing member Alfonso809
This is some good shit! Just to think that this guy took this to a publishing office and wasn’t sent straight to one of those nice places where they give you an uncomfortable jackets and some pills… makes me want to take my shit to one and hope for the same!
LibraryThing member HarvReviewer
Ryan Boudinot boasts an MFA from Bennington College and works as an editor at His first short story collection combines his literary sensibility with a keen eye for the oddities of contemporary American society.

The stories in The Littlest Hitler veer between those set in a recognizable world and others that take place in some dystopian future. The former category features "Sex and Relationships," where the tensions between two childless young couples, friendly on the surface, are peeled back until a shocking secret is revealed. The latter includes "The Sales Team," which involves a group of murderous salesmen whose only product seems to be a talent for terrorizing their customers. In the title story, a fourth-grader appears for the school Halloween party dressed as Adolf Hitler, only to be confronted by a classmate dressed as Anne Frank. Boudinot's gift lies in his ability to move beyond the shock value of the story's premise to offer a tender account of a single father's fumbling effort to help his son.

Fans of the short fiction of George Saunders will find a kindred spirit in the writing of Boudinot and they'll no doubt be waiting eagerly for more of his offbeat take on American life.
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