Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: Guest Blogger Janet Morris Grimes Gives Thoughts on Deborah Willis' Book

Vanishing and Other Stories (P.S.)
Vanishing And Other Stories

by Deborah Willis

2.5 out of 5 stars

This series of short stories features memorable characters, freshly written in a way that brings their disenchanted lives to life. Each story features an absence or abandonment of someone, leaving the remaining characters, along with the reader, to figure out where to go from that point. The reader wonders as secrets are unearthed; infidelities, betrayals, death and bad decisions create a web of unspoken brokenness that surrounds each character. The endings are anticipated, but never predictable. There are few resolutions to each story, but rather a defeated acceptance of the way it is.

Deborah Willis is a master storyteller, brave enough to tackle a few tales from the second person point of view, placing the reader as the main character. Though bouncing in and out of timelines created slight confusion, each journey ebbed and flowed with relative ease. Her approach varies per character, per story, per outcome; raw and never redundant.

Overall, I found each chapter as depressing as the next, showing people who settle, afraid to dream enough to step out of their misery. Lives filled with alcohol and drugs, broken promises and weakness, and one damaged relationship after another. Based on the title, I expected the unhappy endings, but was ill-prepared for the unhappy beginnings and the warped existence they described. Fiction, for me, is an afternoon escape. But this book took me to a hopeless place to which I have no intention of returning.

Janet Morris Grimes

Writing for the Pursuit of Sappiness

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