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Arthur Wooten's Shorts: Stroke Of Luck: a short story & The "Dear Henry" Letters Paperback – January 21, 2012
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"I was never expecting the amount of awesomeness in this short little book...A laugh riot of epic proportions..." - Darien Moya, Pants Off Reviews
"Wooten's knack at mastering comedy through extraordinary situations is unsurpassed. If you loved his 'fruit series' you're going to relish what's inside his 'shorts'!" - Gregory G. Allen, author of Well With My Soul
"Wooten's writing is honest, funny, moving...these may be 'shorts' but they made a big impression on me." - Clayton Littlewood, author of Goodbye To Soho and DWB: Tales Of Soho
"This is the gay Bridget Jones diary!"- ASD Publishing
"Writing comedy is not easy and writing intelligent comedy is even more difficult. It is a quality that I've always believed is inherent and not learned and Mr. Wooten possesses this innate talent in spades." - Indigene, The Indie Reviewer
About the Author
ARTHUR WOOTEN is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Dizzy, Leftovers, Birthday Pie, On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail. He's also penned the children's picture book Wise Bear William: A New Beginning and the collection of short stories, Arthur Wooten's Shorts. A playwright, his works include the award winning Birthday Pie, which had its world premiere at the Waterfront Playhouse, Key West, FL. His one act plays, Lily and The Lunch, have been produced in New York City and most recently in Te Anau, New Zealand. For two years he was the humorist for the London based magazine, reFRESH. Arthur grew up in Andover, MA and now resides in New York City.
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On to the "Dear Henry Letters" which Author Arthur Wooten published in a London Magazine as an advice columnist addressing courtship challenges in the 21st century. His letters address gay sex, love, and dating, with a humorous twist. Each letter is hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud as I read them. Imagine discovering a lover having a fetish about your dusty leather tasseled loafers. Hard to do, right? Yes, it would be the time for splitsville!! Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but when it happens, it's best to find something humorous to convince yourself you have done the right thing! Write on, Arthur Wooten! I love your stories!
"Stroke of Luck" is the tale of celebrity chef Chip Lowell. Chip is utterly confident with himself, not to mention sought after because of his looks as well as his talent. He's on the brink of unveiling a new TV cooking show when a life changing event causes him to do some introspective work... which includes giving scrutiny to every detail in his life, and every person therein as well.
The "Dear Henry Letters" are the culmination of Arthur's two year writing stint for reFRESH. Inside their text you will find a delightful mixture of emotions and side splitting humor as he writes to a fictional lover, Henry, about just why they need to part company. And while parting may be such sweet sorrow, you won't want this one to end.
Arthur Wooten's Shorts, inside and out, is a dynamic entry in this multi talented scribe's bibliography of hits. An immediate success, readers won't be disappointed in the least and Mr. Wooten's ever growing fan base is in for a treat. It's that good.
Stroke of Luck features the story of celebrity chef Chip Lowell who is on the verge of making it big with his first television cooking show. But life can be quite inconvenient sometimes when in the blink of an eye it pulls the rug right out from under Chip forcing him to re-evaluate himself, his priorities and the people in his life. When we first meet Chip he is quite self-absorbed, by his own admission has a bevy of boys and is singularly focused on his career. He doesn't have time for the people in his life and is quite dismissive of his current lover Billy. But Chip is literally incapacitated by life's curve ball and quickly learns that those that once fawned over him such as his producer Paul and even Billy quickly abandon him in his time of need. It falls to his occupational therapist Allie to not only help him get back on his feet but also to show Chip the truly important things in life.
Stroke of Luck is a short story of about twenty pages, written in the first person and narrated by Chip. Despite the seriousness of Chip's situation, Mr. Wooten writes with an intelligent humour and a crisp dialogue that well draws out the main characters. As the introductory story Stroke of Luck provides for both a witty and charming amuse bouche for what is to come in The "Dear Henry" Letters.
The "Dear Henry" Letters were first written for the London magazine reFRESH a gay publication for which Mr. Wooten was a humourist between March 2008 and April 2010, and at the request of his publishers who wanted the author to write about gay sex, love, dating and fetishes. However, instead of writing a typical advice column Mr. Wooten creatively addressed the challenges of gay courting in the twenty-first century through a series of letters to his fictitious and often exasperating lover "Henry" explaining the never-ending reasons why he and Henry must end their relationship. But sometimes breaking up is really hard to do.
Spanning a period of two years, each letter reads as a short chapter and chronicles the outlandish events and mishaps in Arthur and Henry's relationship, from their first meeting through an online chat site to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the demise of their relationship. With each letter, the degree of outrageousness of the situations in which Arthur finds himself as a result of Henry's deeds incrementally increases, as does the laughter.
It is clear from Arthur's letters that Henry is an especially eccentric chap that marches to his own proverbial drummer. However, with each letter and accompanying bout of laughter I couldn't help but shake my head and wonder out loud at Arthur's propensity for putting up with Henry's eccentricities, or rather his gluttony for punishment. In the end however, poor Henry looses the one thing that I suspect is what most likely kept Arthur coming back for more.
Writing comedy is not easy and writing intelligent comedy is even more difficult. It is a quality that I've always believed is inherent and not learned and Mr. Wooten possesses this innate talent in spades. Charaterised by an excellent comedic sense, his writing is highly imaginative with a sharp sophistication. The Arthur-Henry situations had me laughing out-loud, at times to the point of tears and once in embarrassment as I made the mistake of carting my ereader to the gym to finish reading the novella and found myself doubled-over in laughter while trying to maintain my balance on the elliptical machine. Below the surface however both a Stroke of Luck and The "Dear Henry" Letters provide for well-nuanced social commentary on the state of gay dating in the twenty-first century. Through Chip's story the author explores such themes as the quest for beauty, youth, fame and fortune at the expense of a deeper meaning of life and self. Arthur's predicament is a commentary on what we are willing to put up with in the name of love and relationships and I suspect that most have encountered a Henry at one point or another in their lives.
Arthur Wooten is a new-to-me author and after reading his Shorts I have placed his novel On Picking Fruit, which has received some excellent reviews, on my reading list. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Stroke of Luck and The "Dear Henry" Letters and recommend this compilation to all without any hesitation. If laughter is a form of therapy then Mr. Wooten's Shorts will not only put a smile on your face, but also likely cure what momentarily ails you. A word of caution however, if you are the type of reader that is at all self-conscious do not read this book in public as you are sure to embarrass yourself (as I did) from the inability to hold back your guffaws.
This review was originally published on August 8, 2012 for Indie Reviews.
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Wooten utilizes the subtle nuances of language to capture both the dramatic and the mundane in his...Read more