Saturday, February 23, 2008

Brief Reviews of Six Amazon Shorts: Women's Fiction

If you are willing to spend 49 cents to download a short story, Amazon Shorts is the place to do it. I've mentioned my own two stories, "Volunteer" and "Marie's Story," but I've written Amazon reviews (reprinted here) for six other stories. They are all worth reading.

"So Many Lost Years," by Jane Marie Teel Rossen:

Elder Spousal Abuse and Murder

"So Many Lost Years" features a woman, married 48 years, who realizes about her mentally and physically abusive husband, Fred, "He's stolen my mind and body, and now I have nothing left. I'm a shell, just a dried-up shell of an old woman." This situation is well worth reading about by any woman trapped in an abusive marriage, regardless of her age. It may seem worse for older women who probably have fewer alternatives to remaining in abusive marriages. Any man with a tendency toward spousal abuse (or lack of compassion) should read it, too. The relatively short length of this story doesn't allow for the suspense that the creative plot twists should create, and the story suffers from inconsistent verb tenses. Still, it's based on an interesting premise, and that in itself makes it worth reading.

"Into the Sun," by Carmen Goldthwaite

A Powerful Tale of a War's Aftermath

While I have no personal experience with wartime loss, I lived through the era portrayed in this story: the Viet Nam war era. The three former ROTC students of this story, deceased husband and wife and best friend, bring to life the optimism of youth and some bittersweet memories as the delayed funeral of a missing pilot brings a type of closure for all involved. In today's world, it serves as a plea for the end of warfare.

"Pretend I'm Dead," by Janet Brown

Dealing with Death

Janet Brown is an excelent writer, and this fifty-two page story kept my attention from beginning to end. A fifty-three-year-old woman, mother of three teenagers, faces the tragic death of her husband, and dares to love and marry again, but there are several twists in the "happily ever after" scenario. Death is not a cheerful topic, but it's one we all face eventually. Brown shows that spousal death is a worthy topic for fiction if one can appreciate the ironies, the twists and turns, the realities of life.

"The Death of Betty Pinto," by Judith Woodcock Colombo

Little Old Ladies are Human Too

Although I'm not a mystery fan, I was intrigued by this story set in an inner city soup kitchen. I applaud the author for her pictures of older people who seem real and worthy of writing about. The mystery is full of twists and turns, and if it has any flaw, it's that it could have been longer to develop the characters even further. All in all, it's an entertaining story.

"Merry Christmas, Miss Budge!" by Daphne C. Simkins

Christmas and Aging

As an elderly widow myself, I like this story because it reflects the discomfort of getting out of a cozy rut and experiencing new things, especially around the holidays. I'm no Miss Budge, but I admire her daring.

"Am I Wife or Daughter?" by Brenda Hill

A Common Dilemma

It seems that more and more women, especially, are being faced with the task of caring for one or more aging and/or disabled parents at the same time they are caring for their own families. This story portrays such a situation very well, and the reader is tempted to write a sequel. However, the sad thing is that there is no ideal solution for this problem, either in this story or in real life. It's a story worth reading and thinking about.

Amazon shorts:

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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