Reviewed by Erin McCracken — My Life Within the Pages
John Young sent me a copy of his book and I accepted the review request since it was a relatively short book of short stories. How hard could it be to stay on track right? To my utter astonishment, I absolutely tore through the book, reading the entire thing in just a few days. The short stories vary in length, but most are perfect to get through on your lunch hour.
There is a vein of humanity running through every story in the book, connecting them subliminally in your mind. I don’t mean that you have the same characters or the same town (though Nema, Indiana seems to crop up frequently) but that there are human emotions and characteristics tying them together. The stories range from snapshots of a conversation between a mother and daughter to life-changing yearlong frustrations for the main character. Distinct types of people come through in the stories that we can relate to, parents trying to do the right thing for their children, siblings with decades old trauma and resentment, over and under achievers all around. There is a story in here for every emotion.
John also brings his characters to life effectively in a short amount of time. With little to no direct description about their appearances, their personalities, or their demeanors in many of the stories, he still manages to make characters develop wonderfully over just a few pages.
There are so many stories in this book that I loved. I enjoyed all of them thoroughly. There were many moments where my jaw dropped because of an excellent twist, or I laughed out of nowhere at a witty remark. This will absolutely be a reread for me. Trust me, just start with the first story, that of a sneaky small-time antiques dealer who concocts a plan to scam his big-time buyers, and let the words roll.