Review: Stories I Told Myself


  • Author: Patrick E. McLean
  • Pages: 230

I listened to the free audio version available on

Funny, moving and always exquisitely well-produced, this collection of short stories and essays from the award-winning Seanachai podcast is not to be missed. If you like this American Life, but wish that Ira Glass’ voice was a bit softer on the ears, then this is the audio book for you. – Goodreads synopsis

Stories I Told Myself is a collection of short stories and essays that are chalk full of hilarity, even the slightly more serious ones.  Patrick E. McLean culled them from the results of his decision to write something every week, no matter how good or bad, to get past a writing block.  While I didn’t love this book quite as much as I did The Merchant Adventurer, I did enjoy it, and I especially liked that I could get through a story within the time it took me to drive to work.  Sometimes I could listen to two, maybe three, of them.  That means I was able to finish the podiobook version in about four days, and I didn’t have to leave off in the middle of a chapter and then have to wait until the end of the day or the next day to finish it (I rarely listen to audiobooks outside of my car).

The reason Patrick E. McLean is one of my favorite authors is that he writes about stuff that is bizarre, but in a way that makes sense and is oddly relatable in an extremely humorous way.  For instance, one story is about the problems of having a vampire living in your attic, especially if that vampire has horrible taste in music.  Anyone who has ever had a roommate, or even an annoying neighbor can understand what that experience might be like.  Another story shows how sharing candy can bring even the most unlikely people into a short-term understanding of each other.

A couple of the stories were a little off the mark, or just not that interesting, but that’s normal for a short story collection.  No matter how hard the writer and/or editor tries, there will always be a dud or two.  However, it is rare for all the others to more than make up for those one or two.  As a result, I highly recommend giving Stories I Told Myself a try, especially since the podiobook is free.