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A Kind of Mad Courage: Short Stories About Mothers, (S)mothers & Others Kindle Edition
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'One of the very few reasons I had any respect for my mother when I was thirteen was because she would reach into the sink with her bare hands - bare hands - and pick up that lethal gunk and drop it into the garbage. To top that, I saw her reach into the wet garbage bag and fish around in there looking for a lost teaspoon. Bare hands - a kind of mad courage.' ~Robert Fulghum
That Robert Fulghum quote opens the introduction to this book of short stories about mothers, and certainly (as a mother myself), motherhood, perhaps personhood, takes a kind of mad courage.
Whether you're a mother, or the child of one, the stories and themes explored in this book will evoke many emotions. I felt joy, love, sorrow, anxiety, fear, disgust, and more, the full gamut of human emotions in reading the many different types of stories in this book.
The ending of one of my favorite stories, 'Verity' by Wendy Janes, about an aging woman in the UK, made me cry from surprise and possibility. I won't spoil the story but say that the skillful denouement, and the general short story plot included a sort of lovely misdirection (whether intentional or unintentional) which meant I was surprised and truly touching in reading the ending. The prose pacing and ambiance of that story really flowed and gave me a sense of being there.
Many of these stories touch the heart and well explore the human and, in particular, the female human condition.
This is the kind of short story collection that bears reading and re-reading.
I felt horror and disgust at another story, that described a murder (which I am able to write about but am more squeamish when reading). Other stories tugged my heart-strings, including, curiously, a mother's tale of temporary abandonment of her family (I won't spoil the plot by stating the title of that short). Certainly a couple of the stories were less beloved to me than others (one writer had a more stilted, distant way of writing that I find off-putting, which other readers may find old-fashioned or even literary), yet all of the stories were nicely written (or very well written).
I really enjoyed this book and think that most readers will, too. Happy reading~*
Like a Boomerang by Maria Schulz, Becky's Mum by Louise Wise, and Hide and Seek by Samantha Stroh Bailey skillfully described the love/hate relationship between mother and teenage daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed Love in the Time of Cannibals by Diana Shafter Gliedman and it paved the way to my obsession to The Walking Dead. Oh Baby by Laura Chapman was fabulous. I enjoyed reuniting with the "cast" of Rita Hayworth's Shoes in Monkey Bread by Francine LaSala. I nodded my head in understanding of the bond of sisterhood in Two Thousand Steps by Karen Martin. And my heart was torn into a million pieces by Heartstrings by Jen Tucker, Lady in Red by K.C. Wilder, A Poem for Mommy by Carey Heywood, Last Words by Sheryn MacNunn, and LLL by Julie Valerie (this was brilliantly crafted and I look forward to the first full-length novel by Julie Valerie).
I can't single out each and every story, but I can say that there was not one in this collection that did not touch me.
Most recent customer reviews
Aside from the fact that it benefits a charity, and is terrific value - NINETEEN short stories, and they're all a very decent length - it's one of the...Read more