Unshod, Cackling, and Naked | Critical Book Review

Unshod, Cackling, and Naked by Tamika Thompson unveils a collection of 13 short stories, each laced with a chilling touch of horror. Thompson’s narrative prowess takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through tales that defy the ordinary.

In one narrative strand, a woman mysteriously vanishes, leaving her husband grappling with the inexplicable. In another, a man wakes up to find his town besieged by bats, introducing an element of supernatural chaos. Each story, from a woman succumbing to the overpowering force of a tree to the unsettling awakening of every pet dog, shares a common thread—they all leave readers gaping in astonishment.


A Journey of Creativity and Creepiness

The momentum in this collection intensifies with each story, captivating readers with Thompson’s inventive and eerie writing style. The initial story unravels a pet revolution, where dogs tire of their submissive roles and violent consequences ensue. The author’s ability to conjure such imaginative scenarios repeatedly left me questioning, “How did she come up with this?”

Thompson exhibits a remarkable range, navigating the supernatural, hallucinations, and the chilling realities of the human psyche. From heart-wrenching to inspiring and destructive narratives, the characters traverse a spectrum of experiences, challenging the boundaries of their realities.


Unforgettable Favorites

Singling out one favorite story proves challenging, but notable mentions include “And We Screamed.” Here, a young girl grapples with the complexities of her relationship with animals and her journey towards vegetarianism. The poignant narrative, intertwined with childhood stories exposing darker family secrets, leads to a spine-chilling conclusion.

Transitioning from this emotional whirlwind to “I Am Goddess” was an intense experience, echoing the peaks and troughs found throughout the collection. Each story offers gratifying retribution, devastating lows, and occasional highs, delivering an overall intense reading experience.


Highlighting Black Characters and Experiences

Among the many commendable aspects of Thompson’s stories, the spotlight on Black characters and experiences stands out. The author weaves narratives featuring Black women, crafting tales that resonate with familiarity and connection. Thompson transforms common experiences—be it a beauty queen, a struggling college student, or a neglected wife—into hauntingly realistic, desperate, and rewarding journeys, infusing them with an imaginative twist.


A Resounding Applause

Upon finishing this collection, the urge to applaud, akin to an enthusiastic moviegoer, was undeniable. Describing my enjoyment as a mere understatement would be inadequate; Unshod, Cackling, and Naked is a literary escapade that resonates with creativity, spine-chilling narratives, and a profound exploration of the human experience.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Unnerving BooksShort Stories / Horror261 pages978-1989206980

Unshod, Cackling, and Naked by Tamika Thompson unveils a collection of 13 short stories, each laced with a chilling touch of horror. Thompson’s narrative prowess takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through tales that defy the ordinary. In one narrative strand, a woman mysteriously vanishes, leaving her husband grappling with the inexplicable. In another, a…