Allister Cromley’s Fairweather Belle (Bedtime Stories For Grownups to Tell) by Shane Portman (Self-Published, 2012, 76pp.)
For those of you who are looking for something to lull you to sleep at bedtime—something a little softer than that white-knuckle thriller you probably have on your nightstand—might I suggest Shane Portman’s Allister Cromley’s Fairweather Belle. Reminiscent of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, this gentle, nonsensical little collection of vignettes follow the allegorical adventures of Allister Cromley, a man who lives in a world that is “at once ours and at once only his” (26). Who is Allister, you ask? He’s a man prone to “subtle anarchy,” someone who writes “Go!” at the bottom of stop signs and who doesn’t follow rules—at least, until he realizes that “following no rules in itself [becomes], by definition, a rule” (40). While it can stand perfectly well on its own, I think the book works best as a complement to its companion website, http://www.fairweatherbelle.com/. Also see the Allister Cromley blog (http://allistercromley.blogspot.com/), a kooky, quirky source of extra Allister stories, with links to some really weird (but really cool) websites.