Title: A Rose Only a Mother Could Love: Other Tales, Labels, and Fables
Author: Gregory P. Scott
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories, 21st Century American Literature
Source: Local Library
Release Date: September 14, 2015
Format: Paperback; 978-1-49177-361-1; $8.95
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Summary: These ten stories, plus one bonus, take place in Everytown, USA; in other words, the stories in this collection could take place in your backyard or on the other side of America. Still, no matter where you go, people are people, and they face the same daily struggles and horrific life tragedies but also joy, laughter, and redemption.
Read of one boy who spent his life growing up in a poor household until the thrill of a day at the fancy Dairy Queen. Attend a child’s funeral, arranged and organized by the child herself. Find a family less than thankful on Thanksgiving and a Marine who receives a less than welcome homecoming, despite brave service to his country.
Meet characters like “Steady Stuart” and good old “Pete the Pennyman.” These characters-and the tales themselves-will provoke, amuse, and enthrall. You’ll be left guessing how many of these stories are true and which are works of pure fiction, but actually, it doesn’t matter, since real life is the strangest story of them all. (from GoodReads.com)
Review: Gregory P. Scott’s short story collection, “A Rose Only a Mother Could Love” presents ten vignettes that explore themes encompassing struggle, compassion, redemption, and humanity. The collection’s namesake story “A Rose Only a Mother Could Love” examines the mark special people can leave on our lives. In the briefest of meetings, and after a simple, and seemingly meaningless request, this desire for a couple of roses turns into a profoundly important and significant encounter between two individuals in honor of the past. The story is told in revealing and honest prose that captures the sincerity of the story. It’s deeper explorations reveal the resounding impact we leave on the people around us, and this story came to me when I needed it most. This was one of my favorites in the collection and one of its best.
Another favorite of mine in this collection is “The Scarecrow Knows,” which explores the dark secrets of a town as told from the perspective of a scarecrow. The scarecrow unapologetically observes and exposes the underbelly of small-town drama and the inherent hypocrisy fostered there in the midst of its morality and judgement. The scarecrow is immediately honest, witty, and critical in highlighting the moral turpitude he sees in his town. I loved this story for its honesty and for how much I could relate to and recognize the experiences it explores. This is arguably one of the most masterful stories in this collection. It is structurally complete, emotionally impactful, and the prose is unfailingly concise and real.
All of the stories in this collection, not just the ones I’ve chosen to use as examples, are equal in measure to the exceptional nature of this volume. If you like short stories and you like honest, insightful, and prose that displays a fierce wit, along with observant description and imagery, if you like real stories about the real world, pick this brief collection up. It’s a gem more people need to read.
Disclaimer: I know the author of this collection; however, he did not ask me to write this review, and I did not receive anything in exchange for writing this review. This review was borne out of a genuine interest in the work and my passion for supporting local authors in my community.