Flash Fiction Review: All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had

A haunting reminder of love and loss, tied together in a tight work of prose.

Available at Thirty West Publishing House

Very seldom will you come across a piece of writing that will move you to regret, not for reading the work but for your own life’s dizzying array of bad choices.

#AlltheGhosts made me reconsider the loss of both the living and the dead, remembering the remains we carry with us often do nothing but burden us with their painful weight.

Memories haunt us, not for their blunt emotional impact and not because they evoke nostalgia’s comforting lie. No — memories become sometimes unwanted spirits for those who open themselves up to life’s nuanced fragments of love and suffering.

I think I see her at a bus stop. Dressed all in black, a scarf wrapped around her head of hairspray. I run the space between us, and when this woman turns around, I recoil. It’s not my mother.

Jules Archer captures figments a life with players whose errors have long been buried and contrasts them with a life that’s just beginning. She ponders, in only the brief, powerful way that a masterful writer of flash fiction can, how short bursts of memory and less-than-five-minutes of meaningless conversations weave their way, permanently and without fail, into our lifeblood’s force.

Readers willing to open those wounds, cautiously picking at hard-earned scars, will find a curious comfort in Jules Archer’s #AlltheGhosts. Confronting our haunts and our secret shadows are, for some of us, healing experiences. It’s a way to appreciate a life that didn’t always offer what was promised.

A beautiful, raw look at life and love, All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had reminds us that we live despite our losses. For my adoptee readers, we’re constantly reliving our mistakes and scrutinizing the sins cast upon us by inadequate adults. I encourage you to check out this relatable, short collection, and for once, feel understood.


Sunny writes about transracial adoption, race, and the American family. She also contributes to Intercountry Adoptee Voices, an adoptee-led site supporting research by intercountry adoptees. Her first creative non-fiction piece, “the lucky ones,” will be released by Thirty West Publishing House in March 2018. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

This review was completely unsolicited and 100% earned by the author’s hard work. Even if you thought I got something out of writing this, it’s no matter— Archer’s work deserves this praise and more. ❤

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