Ten stories featuring ten individuals in situations, both common and uncommon, that draw on full range of emotions. From a woman’s blind date; to a teen making a career choice; to a soldier returning home; to a man with a regret; to a prisoner’s dilemma; these thought-provoking stories will stay with you for days.
I loved this book that had 11 short stories. I agree with the author that interesting things happen to people (especially when no witnesses are around). These stories focused on the decisions people make and the internal conflict involved. It’s probably why I loved them so much–I’m a huge fan of psychology. Michael Twist managed to create characters and situations that I connected with, which is a wonderful talent considering this wasn’t a novel.
Strange Indeed–Selena was a writer who had her first story published in a magazine. She interacted with Bill online afterwards. He was an aspiring writer as well. My favorite lines: 1) While it had occurred to her more than once it had never come up during their on-line chats and seemed shallow in a way that she liked to think of as being beneath a writer’s dignity. 2) “They say truth is stranger than fiction.” They ended up having a date, but had no chemistry. I could relate to Selena in many ways–both writers, Plain janes, etc. The conversations were interesting; too bad they didn’t work out.
What Elsie Meyer Found at the Bottom of Jerry Oliver’s Urn–I loved the edge in this story; it was one of my favorites. Elsie let a music scholarship slip from her fingers in order to stay with Bobby, who was in a band. They both ended up as heroin addicts. I like that this story didn’t shy away from what that entails–living in filthy places, if not enough money to buy product then share your girl, etc. They robbed a house, stealing a urn of a 5 year old boy. My favorite scene was when Elsie watched the news of the boy’s parents pleading for it back. It was a wake-up call. My favorite lines: 1) Honor among thieves is for assholes and amateurs, Mike’s father had always maintained. 2) Mired within her blurred image, Elsie Meyer was fairly certain she saw a first semblance of self-respect.
Lack of Imagination–This was another one of my favorites. Two college guys took a road trip to spend the holidays with their families. I enjoyed the drama, especially the conversation. It must be frustrating to be stuck in a snow storm with someone who won’t listen to you when you encourage them to pull over. It’s not just their life in danger, it’s yours too. I loved the ending; it was pretty intense. My favorite line: Willie kept driving and I realized he was using the drive to define us. From this moment forward, he would be the brave and courageous, and I would be the weak and fearful.
Wonderings–I liked that this story had a teenager reflecting his life. Rory’s father didn’t approve of his art (considered it a hobby instead of a job) so forced him to attend college away from home to grow up. The poor boy loved living in Santa Monica though; it’s a shame that some parents dictate their child’s lives without thinking of the consequences. I could relate to Rory because he was a people watcher. My favorite section was him sitting on a bench guessing the lives of people as they walked by.
Dear John–This was another sad story. Kathy and John were high school sweethearts. He came back from the war after being discharged due to an injury. He wanted to marry her and start a family, but he could sense things had changed on her end. My favorite line: Kathy was saying something, and John had to focus to take it in, as if hearing a foreign language you’d been studying spoken too fast to follow.
No Small Thing–The author was great with voice; the narration never deterred from sounding like a man with no education, making him sound like a country bumpkin. He wrote in his journal. He was a prisoner who had 11 years left of his sentence. Frank offered a way for them to escape. It was sad that the guy’s mom died because she had been his only visitor. I loved the way he reminisced about his high school days, how a teacher had challenged him to read and write.
Tete-a-Tete–This had an interesting twist at the end. A war veteran can go home to his family if he made progress with his therapy sessions.
Better Late–Steve was going to his 10 year reunion and was anxious to see Mallory and Matt because he felt that he had to apologize for something. I enjoyed his flashbacks of how school had been for him, especially in the boy’s locker room.
The Spare–I liked the drama in this story. Cherise was pregnant with Jimmy’s baby. He was in prison. I liked that she wanted a better life for her and her baby. No need to repeat the cycle.
Close–This was another one of my favorites. It was cool getting a sense of who Mark was by someone else’s account. The narrator was attending his 20 year reunion. The buzz–Mark would be there (he had disappeared right after graduation). My favorite line: Adults who knew of his limitless potential would look at Mark with a degree of sadness as if they knew of regrets he might later labor. I felt sorry for what Mark had to go through growing up.
The Story I Cannot Tell–This story was great with setting; I could visualize the places and people vividly. A guy wished that his dad would have taught him the outdooresy, country life instead of living on the east coast away from his cousins. There was a mystery element to his uncle Roman. The ending was a tease. I want to know the uncle’s secret!
I RECOMMEND this book to read.
For more information on the author or book:
- Email: info(AT)michael-twist(DOT)com