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Wednesday 11 September 2013

Such is Life by Jeri Walker-Bickett


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.
This author has compiled a set of stories which are well written, well observed, and thought-provoking. The stories don’t necessarily end as you might expect because…well, that’s life. Most enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. I have also read this collection by Jeri. I came away with much the same responses as you did. Jeri is a wonderful author and friend.