An Epilogue to Innocence is the latest publication from writer, blogger, and all-around awesome guy Tim Baughman, whom you may know from That Tiny Website. It is a series of short stories centered on what it means to be in your 20s—a period he and I and, according to the stats, most of my readers, are in varying stages of—particularly as part of the generation the media (with just a slight whiff of disdain) calls the “millennials.”
Now listen, you and I both know that I’m not exactly the book review type. So why the hell am I doing this? Am I trying to bore my readers to death?
But…this fucking book, you guys.
I agreed to read it as a friend and fellow writer when Tim was in the earlier stages of it, thinking what did I get myself into because let’s be honest, usually if a friend asks you to help edit their collection of short stories you, like, run.
I stayed up till 2 am and read the whole thing in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. Not only did I find these stories all different kinds of relatable, I also found they ranged broadly from sweet to terrifying to uglycry-inducing to hilarious. And this was before they were even finished.
Now that the book is done, I’ve had a chance to read it again, and it’s even better all spruced up. I’d already forgotten just how rich the characters are, how perfect the details he provides are, and how enthralling his stories are.
The collection opens with a story about…lost love? I question myself because it’s so beautifully complex that I can’t even be sure what was lost really was love, and though I feel that I understood each emotion conveyed, I can’t honestly say I can explain them. But I’m sure as hell thinking about them, and that is a fantastic introduction to this book.
The stories continue to move through reality like a hazy memory where the details are faded but the feelings are fresh; sexuality, suicide, depression, joy, loss and more, all explored. There’s a too-close-to-home tale of the one that got away, a story of death in childbirth, a story of an unhappy marriage. One story literally had me bawling on my break at work and I had to stop (people there think I’m weird enough as it is).
Tim writes from a variety of perspectives—he focuses on Americans in their 20s, but transitions comfortably between genders, backgrounds, and personalities. One can easily lose themselves in the stories like reading so many people’s well-written diaries. This is actually one reason I’m not so great at short stories—I can’t change my voice convincingly enough to be a very wide variety of main characters—but Tim has that shit on lockdown. It’s kind of mind-blowing.
I hesitate to go into too much detail because not only are these stories emotional and intense, some of them are legitimately thrilling too, or have unexpected twists and turns, and I don’t want to ruin anything for y’all.
Just…just read it. It’s not even expensive. It’s available now on Amazon:
…and the store: