Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Christmas on Deery Street


Roberts, Steven. 2006. Christmas on Deery Street & Other Seasonal Stories.

I rarely read short stories. True, I have read a lot of short stories in literature classes in college, but I don't typically make a point of seeking out collections of short stories in my normal non-assigned reading. I like--love--well-developed characters, characters that you come to care about and know. And truth is, that rarely happens for me in such a short amount of time and space. So I was wonderfully surprised to find that Steven Roberts has an incredible gift with characterization. His characters in the stories--so real, so human. It is so easy to care about what happens to them. So natural to love them. Each story in this collection was great. There are no duds. I loved them all. In fact, it would be hard to choose a favorite. Although I suppose under duress I would answer "Christmas on Deery Street" or "Nanny's Locket". But how could I not equally love "The Angel of Union Station" and "Magic Socks"? The stories? How to describe them? They make me feel good. Warm and fuzzy. But not in a cheesy way. I know if I call them heartfelt or sentimental that someone will say, "that's not for me." And that would be a disservice. The stories cover a lot of emotions. There is love and heartache and loss and sadness. There is anger and guilt. There is hope. There is regret. And there is plenty of humor. But above all there is a feeling of genuineness, authenticity, a realness, knowing that these stories are indeed true-to-life and true to the human spirit. This is a book that I loved--I simply loved it. Adored might even come into fashion as a way to describe how much I loved it. Why? I know this is a book that I can share with my mother, my grandmother, my great-aunt, not to mention my best friend and her mother. It's a book I know so many people will enjoy that it's just a real treat to have been the one to discover it first.