Book Review – Crawl Cram Grind Fail

Crawl Cram Grind Fail by Bill Gillard

The Publisher Link and the Amazon Link

I read this book on my e-reader. This is an unsolicited review.


Where to start? Well, I had not heard of this author until one of the publishers I follow (Potters Grove Press) advertised this new book and reading the “about” really drew me in and intrigued me. I was NOT disappointed! Not in the least. In fact, this is definitely one of my top five favorite reads this year.

The collection of short stories is dark, humorous, gritty, weird, unexpected, and oddly satisfying. The title is PERFECT. I felt like every single story encapsulated at least one of the words: Crawl, Cram, Grind, or Fail… and many times, more than one. This was a delightful and unexpected read. I looked forward to each time I got to sit down and read a story or two. It was that good.

My absolute favorite story of the bunch was the far-future, sarcastically funny tale: “The Moose Depart” which *almost* reminded me of Douglas Adams’ style of writing only (dare I say it) better. Honestly, Mr. Gillard could write a full-length novel in this world and I’d be one happy reader. But even taken at its written length, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and told anyone (adult or child) near at hand the amazingly good story I’d just read.

In all fairness, there wasn’t a story included which I didn’t like. Every single one: excellent. But if you’re looking for “feel-good happy endings”… um, no. This isn’t it. That’s not to say the book is a downer. It’s not that either. For me, this was high-caliber short story writing as short stories SHOULD be. Reminiscent of my other favorite short story writers such as River Dixon, Philip K Dick, and Robert Birkhofer who all write super intelligent, deep stories that make you think long afterward. The kind that stick with you. The kind where they don’t have to explain every little detail or wrap it up at the end, but where you get to imagine a hundred different endings yourself. And THAT, to me, is the GOOD short story author. It gets in your bones.

I give this one 5/5 stars. Excellent length, awesome title, eye-catching cover, great editing, amazing storytelling. It just doesn’t get better than this. It really doesn’t. Highly highly recommended to those who enjoy short stories with a dark (but not disgusting) overtone.


Read more book reviews by following my Review Category.

be a good writer: read.
~tara caribou

**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!


I will also, as a side-note, say, it may seem that I am harsh on many writers for their editing, formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. I do so unapologetically. One, because this is a review, not a popularity contest. Two, because honest criticism should help us grow as artists.

The fact of the matter is, these things MATTER. A mathematician must use his tools and use them correctly to be an effective mathematician. A surgeon cannot simply say, “I know I can’t sew the wound closed but at least I could remove the appendix or whatever it’s called.” Same with writers. We can’t claim to be writers but refuse to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We can’t claim to be a photographer just because we know how to push the button on the camera (or phone). There’s an art to it.

So while I may appreciate the artist as a person and their words, I believe that it does us all a disservice to say lower quality editing is okay. Believe in yourself! Believe in the power of your words! Put the effort into being the very best you can be. Ask for help. Grow and learn.

13 Comments on “Book Review – Crawl Cram Grind Fail

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Tom! I really enjoyed my time reading his book. What a treasure. I’m a fan of short stories and boy did this hit the spot. So glad to have “found” him!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hiya! I’ve just finished reading and I must say that your review was spot on and I am really glad that I followed it up. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and one of the main reasons for that was the way in which Gillard allows the reader to use their own imagination, and indeed encourages them to build upon what he alludes too. Too many to pick a favourite, but definitely a collection that I will return too. I have dropped a review onto Goodreads, but thank YOU for your recommendation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s awesome, Chris! I’m so glad you also enjoyed his book as well!! 🙂 and thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Knowing that I can help even one person enjoy a book like I did really encourages me to keep sharing. Much love to you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Equally, knowing that there is someone whose opinion I can trust, and who has no ulterior motive, is invaluable. Even if I didn’t enjoy one of your recommendations as much as yourself, I know that I can rely on your reviews for their honesty and objectivity. That said, I’m delighted with the last couple that I have read!! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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