Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Review: The Simplest of Acts And Other Stories by Melanie Haney

"The Simplest of Acts: And Other Stories" by Melanie Haney

Published by

Rating: 4.5 stars

In this compilation of short stories, Melanie Haney explores the pain of loss and its consequences for those who are left to grieve. Whether it be a death of a family member or the death of a romance, the raw emotions are felt from each story through the beautiful writing and imagery. Each story is unique with its own characters and circumstances, and yet they are all tied in the common bond of deep meaning and all elicit powerful emotions.The touching stories are all wonderfully developed and yet simultaneously succinct slices of life in the face of tragedy and pain. Though there are elements of sorrow woven throughout these stories, they are not depressing or overwhelming, rather they embrace pain and in a subtle way, even offer hope.

I enjoyed each one of them, but of course I did have my favorites, including:

"Milk" - A mother's pain after losing her son in a car accident leads to a difficult period of adjustment as she envisions a boy who is not really there. Because her son died while driving to pick up milk for her, she carries a tape recorder everywhere to ensure she never forgets another item again. Her son's death continues to haunt her until she takes a final stand.

"The Simplest of Acts" - A beloved mother passes away, leaving her children to pick up the pieces in an effort to continue her legacy. For her wake they must bake her speciality, an almond pound cake, which reveals an ironic twist.

"An Ordinary Evening" - A mother spends her days sitting by her daughter's bedside in the hospital, despite ackowledging that her daughter's brain and soul have passed on and nothing but her physical body remains. She is faced with the difficult decision of whether or not (or perhaps when) to finally let her daughter rest in peace and take her off life support.

Melanie Haney is a great talent writer with a promising future and this collection of short stories is the perfect introduction to her writing. She is currently working on a novel, which I cannot wait to read!

BIG THANKS to Melanie for sending me a copy of her book to review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review! I have seen this book mentioned lately and the author has the same last name as mine...but I think no relation. However, I think I will try and get a copy of this book anyway. Thanks for the post!