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Thrown Out: Stories from Exeter Paperback – September 6, 2011
"Coughlin's writing style is crisp, succinct, and that makes these characters as close as if you're sitting next to them in the bleachers at a softball game. ... I was pleased to discover Exeter's story continues in a series of novels Coughlin has in the works. Exeter is a place you need to visit." -- eFiction Magazine
"These tales were well developed and the writer had strong command of them from beginning to end. Coughlin delivered stories that quickly immersed me into the tale. The characters had depth and some of them crossed over into different stories." -- Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
About the Author
Jennie Coughlin first won awards for her coverage of small towns in Massachusetts while working at community newspapers there, and now uses a different kind of storytelling to showcase life in fictional Exeter, Massachusetts. In addition to her work as a reporter, editor and columnist at small newspapers, she was Virginia's USA TODAY correspondent for a few years.
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On top of that this books makes the reader feel as though they themselves are a part of Exeter, it's community and history.
The characters are strong and rich, and the story flows so brilliantly that I just want to pack up my life here in Australia and move myself to Exeter.
Definitely a must read!
Over the course of these stories, we get to meet several of the residents. "Bones of the Past" finds Riordan sharing memories of the summer bones were found in the marsh with town newcomer Ellie. In the title story, we watch Chris struggle with his past as he takes a step forward with his boyfriend Dan. Riordan helps out F.X. O'Leary find a way to help his grandkids in "End Run." And in "Intricate Dance," we flash back to the late 60's and a few months that set the tone for Riordan and Becca's relationship.
Even though Riordan plays a big role in three of the stories, I would be hard pressed to call him the main character. Each story really focuses on a different resident which some of the others making cameos in each other's stories. While the plots are good, the focus is on getting to know the characters. Each story is set in a different time period, and that is stated up front, so there is no confusion.
The weak link of the book is "End Run" which stops before I think the story is over. I also found the antagonists to be flat characters and not nearly as well developed as our heroes.
Still, this was an interesting look at a small town, and I would definitely head back for a longer visit to Exeter.
NOTE: Jennie Coughlin is a friend who sent me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. If I hadn't enjoyed it, I would have simply not reviewed it.
I have often been disappointed by short stories because they lack substance. These tales were well developed and the writer had strong command of them from beginning to end. Coughlin delivered stories that quickly immersed me into the tale. The characters had depth and some of them crossed over into different stories. The storylines were compelling and spanned over 40 years. They touched on tough subjects such as homophobia, town secrets, spousal abuse and fear of commitment.
My favorite story was "Thrown Out". This story dealt with homophobia and the ugly truth behind it. Chris is a young man who knows firsthand the pain this hatred can inflict. I was touched by his story. Coughlin brings into perspective what it is like to be different in a small town.
I thoroughly enjoyed Thrown Out, and was sad to see it end. The book was a mere eighty-eight pages long, but worth the read. I will be looking for more of Jennie Coughlin's work in the future.
I want to thank the author for providing with a copy to review in exchange for my unbiased review.