Midlife Revelations

April 1, 2018

“Woolgathering”

by R. E. Wood, 2018

 

“Woolgathering is a collection of short stories by R.E. Wood.  Like most such collections, it’s up and down—but fortunately, mostly up.  The book contains the following:

 

“Just a Shadow” is a tale told from the POVs of a ghost and the little girl he hopes to scare.  It’s cute and creepy, sometimes at the same time.  5/5

 

“Perfect” is a tale of obsession and proof that there really is such a thing as loving someone too much.  It’s one of the best stories in the book.  5/5

 

“The Handyman” is about a man who discovers he really can fix anything.  But when he fails to give credit where it’s not due, his fate is sealed.  The ending is very believable.  4/5

 

Nominally, “Manly Tears” has its heart in the right place.  But the message is heavy-handed and the language is more pedestrian than the other stories in the book.  3/5

 

“Doggone Justice” is a slow burn of a story but with a nice little payoff.  4/5

 

“My Bubble” has a great opening line:  “It was as if God farted and night was splattered across the eastern sky amid a miasma that spread slowly from the horizon, bringing ill tidings from a maniacal netherworld to blanket the Earth in the garbage of its misery from this day forward until forever and beyond.”  The story itself isn’t bad, just a lot of build-up, followed by an ending that’s out of the blue.  4/5

 

“Love’s a Disease” is a powerful and very real story about infidelity or at least the suspicion of infidelity and its effect on one man.  But wow, is the ending abrupt.  The last two paragraphs need to be expanded into at least a page where we can really see and feel what’s going on.  Should have been 5/5 but the skimmed-over ending makes it 3/5.

 

“The Road” is a good story and well-written, but it seems like I’ve seen it before.  4/5

 

“Gated Community” is a charming tale of an old man who goes for a walk and runs into an old pal.  There’s a message, but the story doesn’t hit you over the head with it.  5/5

 

“Voodoo Love Spell” is a very well done story, gleefully humorous with a bite.  But I would have just put the pictures out in the sunlight.  5/5

 

“Just a Note” is very good and took me by surprise.  5/5

 

“Dead Twice and For All” is the tale of a man’s one-night stand and the repercussions that follow.  It’s well done, but some of the clues were overly obvious.  4/5

 

“Restored” is the longest story in the book, and the most personal.  Two writers, a man and a woman, meet at a convention.  Before the night is done there’s a revelation.  It’s only the first of several revelations and this story affected me the most, as it made me ask myself a question.  5/5

 

“No Gratification” is a brief story, without the edge I was expecting, but it’s OK.  4/5

 

The final story, “My History Lesson”, is not a work of fiction at all.  It’s the author’s personal experience of coming face-to-face with his past.  5/5

 

Wood’s language is serviceable and not flashy.  Run-on sentences work themselves in ever so often and occasionally a comma is missing.  These things don’t ruin the writing but they do take the sheen off some otherwise nice stories.  Overall, it’s a good book and recommended.

 

4.5 stars

 

 

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