Such is Life by Jeri Walker-Bickett, AF, 2013, 75p, Rating=3
Source: ebook copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Adult content: language, drugs, violence, promiscuity
These realistic short stories feature characters down on their luck, yet stubborn enough to move on. A tryst between a carnival worker and a pretty high school student begs the question of who takes advantage of who. A young man’s encounter with a drug addict finds him striking out on his own in hopes of a better life. An English teacher publishes literature deemed inappropriate by a Mormon community. A mother goes on a quest to get rid of the family’s aggressive pet. Finally, New Orleans provides the backdrop for a stroll with a psychotic housewife. Such is life.
I don't know where to begin. For the most part, I've lead a sheltered life so these characters freaked me out! They could audition for a spot on The Twilight Zone TV series and get a spot. "For the Love of Dog" certainly fits the bill for concluding with a macabre. That story was very sad so it was difficult to read. The rest would obtain a slot due to shear weirdness. Yet, get this. They all might actually not get the part because it's not science fiction enough and good golly, this kind of characters does exists! Sad and scary.
Walker-Bickett has a way with words in telling the internal considerations that fueled the impulsive decisions these characters made. I particularly enjoyed "River Walk", a story about a woman suffering mental illness. The author walked me to a moment of this woman's psyche and provided a vivid look at the way she looked at life. Fascinating! Furthermore, "Pretty Girl" and "Leaving Big Sky" left me with unsettling feelings given the crude lifestyles but they too were well depicted. Lastly, "Not Terribly Important" embarked in the drama of a woman's commentary of a religion's manipulation or infringement to conform a certain way. It may seem to blend in with the theme of the book but to me it was an autobiographical tactic to push this book as creative writing. The push worked, but I don't think it was in the same tone as the other stories. This one was personal and written to have a point while the rest would leave you to wonder.
It was clear that the author wanted to relay that these characters are examples of people accepting "such is life" and therefore move on. However, I don't see these characters moving on as more adopting the concept of "Que sera, sera". Which is alright but if you really want to change yourself or something, then act/fight for it.
Not my usual cup of tea, but certainly this was out of the box and unforgettable kind of read. I recommend this read to mature and liberal readers.