What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories about Phobias by Donald R. GalloRenowned anthologist Donald R. Gallo calls on eleven top authors to explore what happens when fear takes on a mind of its own.
Everyone is afraid of something. But for those who have phobias, that fear is exaggerated and their reactions are extreme: the heart races, sweat beads up on skin, the eyes narrow, and the throat tightens. The ten stories in this fascinating anthology all present people with debilitating
anxiety — from Alex Flinns gripping psychological portrait of a teen with agoraphobia to David Lubars humorous tale of a boy faced with dread incarnate in the form of his girlfriends cat. Whether the trigger is clowns, knives, string, or crossing the street, the characters in these riveting stories confront, are confronted by, and, in some cases, ultimately succeed in overcoming their worst fears.
What Are You Afraid Of?: Stories About Phobias
What Are You Afraid Of? Contributors are largely familiar names, from Gail Giles and Neal Shusterman to Angela Johnson and Joan Bauer; the subject phobias range from the well known Alex Flinn's "The Door" features an agoraphobic trapped in his house during his parents' vacation, David Lubar's "Claws and Effect" is narrated by a young man whose romantic life is hampered by his terror of cats to the unusual in Angela Johnson's "D'arcy," the protagonist is desperately afraid of string. The stories are qualitatively variable, with several of them becoming heavy handed or purposive. On the other hand, Flinn's story vividly depicts the agony of a boy trapped in a prison his brain has made for him, while Ron Koertge's "Calle de Muerte" offers some perceptive and sardonic commentary on the phobic community "So there's a guy afraid of string giving bad advice to another guy afraid of fish" and the ways some people resist any member's leaving—from a guy who realizes that his understanding isn't diminishing his phobia anyway. Such entries make for psychologically compelling reading that could engage readers with phobias as well as those just looking for some thoughtful brief fiction. Each story concludes with an extended note about its author, and the book closes with an extensive list of phobias and their formal names, plus a list of resources on and for phobics.