Matthew St. Amand’s writing is truly a work of art, and his words will make a reader feel as if the story is one of their memories. A series of 11 short stories, St. Amand completely captures the readers’ attention as you step into the shoes of a man trying to free Jesus from a glass box, or a boy and his summer love coming to an end, or a college student who reads his own name in an obituary, and more.
While each story has its own plot and characters, each one deals with an issue that we may have experienced in our own lives. Fears of being forgotten, home sickness, heartache, each written work handles these emotions which allows readers to relate to each one in their own unique way. The messages may be easier to spot in others, however, I believe that if you’re going through that problem, you may feel a deeper connection to the main character than the other stories. The majority of the shorts are set in our very own city, Windsor, which I found helped me connect to the plots better because I knew where they were taking place, personally.
Each narrative ranges from a few pages to ten, and don’t have a specific order that you must read them in, in order to understand the book as a whole. This makes the novel perfect for anyone who may not have a lot of time on their hands, or quite a bit, but who still want to get lost in a world of dialogue and emotion. Some days, I only had time for one story, and others, I had time for five. While St. Amand makes references to characters in other parts of the novel, they’re more like Easter eggs than anything else.
While I liked each short story, my favourite out of the 11 was one called Hadley. It follows a boy on his summer vacation being dared to talk to a girl at the park, who is only there for the break. As they move closer to the end of summer, they know that the connection they share will be coming to an end soon. Within a few pages, Matthew St. Amand had me hooked to the characters and wondering if they would last once school started up again. It could have been a whole novel in of itself, and it was one of the few that left me feeling almost empty when it ended. Only a very few novels affect me in such a way, but never in less than 50 pages. In my opinion, it made me remember that the love you have now may not last forever, but it’s important to cherish it to the fullest you can.
I recommend reading Letters Lost on a Publisher once you finish reading the full novel, as it’s full of letters that explain a few of the stories and their ideas. Some of them explain the inspiration to how the shorts came to be, and who the characters are. I loved that they were included, as it’s almost like a Q&A with the author but better, a little more real.
I highly recommend reading As My Sparks Fly Upward, as it’s perfect for anyone, no matter who you are. There’s something for everyone to like and find advice in, and if you don’t enjoy one, there are ten others to read. Personally, I feel like anyone should read this novel a few times, at different points, in their lives. When you’re young, when moving away from home for the first time, dealing with homesickness in a new place, regretting some of your biggest choices. It’s almost like turning to a loved one, like a mother or father, for advice and comfort. That may not make sense, but it will if you choose to read Matthew St. Amand’s As My Sparks Fly Upward.