Many of the stories have, as a central theme, some sort of loss, whether of a loved one or yourself, yet I never felt overwhelmed by this theme. Ultimately what I took from the stories was the sense of hope at the end of them. That while someone may have suffered a loss of some sort, there was something, however simple that act may be, that showed a move toward the light again~the feeling that life goes on. A few of the stories brought tears to my eyes, others a smile. Melanie’s writing is hauntingly beautiful. Her words flow onto the page, making you want more. Her descriptive language giving you in depth knowledge of the emotions being felt in each story. One of my favorite quotes…
- ‘Maybe I just think in terms of books because I read them, constantly, both to myself and to Elizabeth at the hospital. In my life before the accident, I had been a librarian and I loved the solace of finding a quiet place between the shelves, of dust-jackets turned filmy and dull, the musty scent of yellowing pages, the treasury of old words kept and stamped and passed down in an orderly fashion. Like the changing of the guard, from one generation to the next.’ (pg 13, The Simplest of Acts And Other Stories)
I had several favorite stories but I’ll highlight only a couple…
- An Ordinary Evening~the story opens with a mother watching her daughter laying in a hosptial bed. There’s been an accident. Grief, hopelessness abound. However, small acts of moving on can take you from not wanting to go on to trying to take a step forward.
- Shoes, Falling~a single mother trying to bring up her daughter. There’s an accident, she’s hurt. How will she get by? How will she support her child and herself, made even harder by the fact that she’s much too nice a person and very trusting. Funny how things happen though and people come through for you and do nice things that help you get by.
- I had several other favorites~Only in Bellington, And Then She Went Home, Milk and The Simplest of Acts. These stories each touched me in some way.
I really enjoyed Melanie’s writing style. As I read the last sentence of each story I would have liked it to go on, yet I was not left wondering about what might have happened. The stories are all wrapped up nicely. I hope to see more from Melanie, maybe even a full length novel in her future. I would definitely check it out and I would recommend this one for those who like short stories or even those who aren’t as fond of them like me, but who was very pleasantly surprised and glad I read it. You can buy Melanie’s novel here.