We’re Not Ourselves Today
Lydia Prime and Jill Girardi
Kandisha Press (March 2024)
Reviewed by Elaine Pascale

Full disclosure: I am familiar with the writing of Lydia Prime and Jill Girardi so I began reading We’re Not Ourselves Today with high expectations. I was not disappointed. We’re Not Ourselves Today contains 13 short stories that are creepy, distressing, and well written.

We’re Not Ourselves Today begins with an amusing introduction by Aisha Kandisha, aka “The Librarian.” The librarian is a sort of crypt keeper; she is the green-skinned curator of stories for Kandisha Press. She is also front and center on the cover of the book. The stories alternate between the authors, creating a compelling duet.  Both authors include biting humor and pleasing plot twists. Prime often plumbs into fairy tales and mythology, while Girardi explores underrepresented cultures in the horror genre.

The creature feature stories were where I had the most fun. I had read Prime’s “Sadie” before but loved it just as much the second time. Girardi’s “The Garbage People” had characters that were hard to root for, so I sided with the unique monster. I enjoyed Girardi’s “The Ecstasy of the Gold Wallet” and was disappointed when it ended as I imagined her coming up with even more possibilities for the creature.

Both “The Letter,” by Prime and “The Roiling,” by Girardi had chef’s kiss endings (pun intended with “The Roiling”). And I think “The Wet Dream” was my favorite of the book as I didn’t see all of the twists coming, and the ones I did foresee I awaited with pleasure.

For fans of old school horror, We’re Not Ourselves Today will be a delightful discovery. I also highly recommend the collection for those seeking new monsters and unique takes on fairy tales and urban legends.