Genre: Anthology; Realistic Fiction; Struggle
In this first book of short stories, Leah Holbook Sackett creates characters in search of independence, fighting family, society, and self to reach their goals.
Schittkowski returns after many years away to nostalgic memories of playing doctor with his cousin, but in “The Family Blend,” what darker secrets haunt him?
In “Swimming Middle River,” the title story of the collection, children are on their own at play. But death and guilt are all part of the memories they make.
Emily in “I Heart Burt” likes hairy men and angora sweaters, but dealing with BiPolar Depression doesn’t help her love life.
This collection of short stories is an amazing showcase of humanity. It brings together vastly differing experiences from equally differing persons. I’m sure many readers will find themselves relating to these very real characters and even for the ones who don’t, the stories remain intriguing and thought-provoking of what our fellow humans may be going through. I easily fell in love with every character and empathized with their struggle.
What I initially disliked, but soon adored was that the stories were only a glimpse. The author picked very specific instances from the characters’ lives to share, leaving you knowing there was so much more to be learned (and trust me, you’ll want to learn it). What was the aftermath? Where did their journey lead the next day, the next year? What were the long-term effects of this incident?
However, it’s abundantly clear that this writing style is exactly what made the collection so great. It really drove home the message of understanding and compassion by showing just how incredibly diverse human plights and personalities are. If this handful of small events was this detailed, yet superbly varied from each other, imagine just the infiniteness and intricacy of entire existences of every person on Earth.
With that in mind, I do think the author could take any one of these shorts and create an entire book about the character’s world. Not just because they were a single experience, but because they are individually interesting enough and because the author is ultimately capable of such immersive expansion as evidenced by the pure amount of heart put into each story.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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