Christopher Coake’s latest release, You Would Have Told Me Not To, includes stories that are noted as tying into the idea of the #MeToo Movement. Through short stories and one novella he is able to examine failed relationships and the fallout that comes out of them. One of the most common themes is the ideal of masculinity causing issues due to a toxic or misguided person. This book presents so many different relationships and what has come out of their failure that you will feel drawn into these vignettes and the people they encompass.
Within a majority of these stories the focus is on men or those who have been impacted by a male spouse and his actions. The title story involves a woman who comes to her son’s bedside after he has suffered a gunshot wound. While this moment itself would be traumatic and jarring she finds herself having to contend with her ex-husband’s serial infidelities. The story examines not only her connection to her former husband, but the lack of connection she felt with her son. It is a touching piece told through the lens of Sue, who is contending with her emotions and some revelations that she never expected.
There are additional stories that include men who learn that someone they previously slept with, but had forgotten about have died, men who have had brief affairs and realize they might have a child they never knew about, and even one about someone who tries to change himself for the woman who left him and then disastrously tries to get back in touch with her. These all feel so real and so well fleshed out that you will find yourself thinking how Coake gained such insight into so many different types of failed relationships. You can get your copy of You Would Have Told Me Not To today.