Monday, December 24, 2007

While the Shepherds Watched


Roberts, Steven. 2007. While Shepherds Watched.

I meant to review this one on Saturday, but things got away from me. Earlier in the year I reviewed Steven Roberts book, Christmas On Deery Street. I loved that book. I loved, loved, loved that book. I wish I could say the same about While Shepherds Watched. I didn't love, love, love it. But I enjoyed it. I'd give one an A+ and the other a B. Although since reading is subjective, you may find yourself loving this one more than the other. I can only speak to my own experiences here. First of all, Steven Roberts has once again created authentic characters. Characters that you feel you actually begin to know, begin to love by the time the story is through. That is rare for short stories, at least in my experiences. I'm used to bonding with characters in novels, but short stories--not so much. But Roberts does have a gift for characters, a gift for capturing human emotions, human nature so authentically, so genuinely. The stories presented here are: Gabriel's Trumpet, Peace In the Valley, Miracle in the Clearing, The Madam and the Paperboy, Transforming Christmas, and Full Circle. Of those stories, Gabriel's Trumpet, The Madam and the Paperboy, and Full Circle stand out to me. With Gabriel's Trumpet and Full Circle tying for first place in my thinking. Again this is subjective. In the first collection, I loved each and every story. In this second collection, well I loved a few, I liked a few, and I was neutral about a few. There weren't any that I hated by any means. But there were a few that left me unaffected, unmoved. But I'm glad I read this one, it would be worth your time and energy even if you just ended up loving two or three out of the six. There really is something for everyone--from every generation--to appreciate. Although I think this is a book for adults. (But what I meant by "every generation" was whether you're twenty-five or sixty-five, you're going to find something to enjoy in this collection.)