This was an unusual collection of five short stories. Unusual, I thought, because though fictional, they reflect very real situations.
I seem to find a collection of short stories invariably contains one I like the most and one which stays with me for one reason or another. The teacher story (Not Terribly Important) was my favourite (was it auto-biographical, I wonder?), and the most unsettling was the dog story (For The Love Of Dog). I almost wish I hadn’t read that one. As a hopelessly besotted animal lover, I did find it disturbing…be warned!
A creative-writing teacher is an author (when not teaching), who self-publishes a novel. But her students’ parents are unhappy with its contents. The teacher and principle clash over the issue, and the teacher finds herself with a decision to make: does she follow her heart and pursue her passion or relent to narrow-mindedness?
What do you do with a poorly trained pet dog which has been mistreated and as a consequence knows no better and behaves aggressively? His owners clash over his future: the bully of a husband is adamant the dog's life has to end…by whatever means. His wife has more heart, but fears her husband. She needs a solution quickly.
The remaining three stories feature:
- An encounter in a launderette between a young man and woman, neither of whom have managed to fulfil their long-held ambitions and ended on a drifting path. Her intentions to continue along that path may just inspire him to do something about his own.
- A young mother and wife with mental problems is constantly in and out of hospital. Her problem is that she’s trapped in a revolving door of mindnumbness if she takes her pills, but without them her lucidity is crippled with pyschosis. On one particular day of torment she takes a stroll…
- A man who works in a carnival picks up a young student. The inevitable happens. But this rolling stone doesn’t reckon on a female take-it-or-leave version of himself.