By: John Sheirer
Published by: Janice Beetle Books
Publication Date: July 12, 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 15, 2022
Coming from the mind of an ordinary human who has had the luck to experience some truly cool adventures throughout the years, I want to first say that this book offers some very extraordinary stories.
Do not let the somewhat drab cover fool you here; this is not a self-help book about how difficult being an adult is and how to handle age. I know we are visual folk and want something to “jump right out at us” in the library, but if you take the time to pull this one off the shelf or see it on Amazon, read the synopsis on the back. You will see that this is a collection of stories that gift the reader with quirky characters who are written with many layers of emotion. From humor that runs rampant, to the spectrum of feelings ranging from serious to lighthearted that occur in everyday life, this author shows his talent at taking the “norm” and transforming it into stories that tug at the heart, make you think, and perhaps rethink your ideas. He delves into topics such as mental illness and the political realm (which may just be one in the same, if you think about it), and he allows you to feel better knowing you are not the only ordinary person feeling these emotions or thinking these thoughts.
If I had to beg the gods for something (besides a lot more money in my bank account), it would be that all readers out there pick up this book and read “Mass.” In this world of social media, where the internet is the ‘one and only’ for so many, this is one tale that teaches us all how important kindness and friendship are, and how helping others is a good thing and not an annoyance—which is a lesson that really needs to be taught to a new technological generation. Personally, that was my favorite tale out of them all simply because it screamed of reality, and the author was charismatic enough to deliver his words with the grace and wisdom of Obi-Wan.
When it comes to pure and utter laugh-out-loud funny, however, which is something all of us hard-working, depressed, sick-of-this-pandemic people need, my request is that you sit down with this book in hand and meet Fred. Mr. Fred Moffitt is the man who drives a story set in the gym, and even though you understand your surroundings, Fred remains absent. He’s completely oblivious to the world, people, and words spoken all around him, and I can promise you will never laugh so much in your life.
Although I can’t say every single piece hits on all cylinders, I can tell you that a majority of them do. In a strange way, it also touches your heart. You can see some of your own background in these characters. You can picture your childhood companions and you remember the struggles that both you and your friends had to overcome when climbing up that long ladder that either led you into the world of being an adult, or led you into the Devil’s chamber. (Again, depending on the day, these could be one and the same, if you really think about it.)
You will feel parental anguish for some of these characters, as they come face-to-face with maturity, and you will scream “Bravo!” or “You Go, Girl!” (depending on your preference), when these characters do the right thing or make the right choice that allows them to basically check that lesson off their “to do” list in order to move forward in life.
This author has a gift for baring his soul and showing a lowly reader like me the sympathy and love he has for the people he created on these pages. He did this so well, in fact, that he had me feeling the same empathy and understanding for them.
Even if you are not a lover of short stories and are always on the hunt for that epic saga, buy this one, friends. Here you will receive some true adventures that erase the ordinary and leave nothing but the extraordinary behind.
Quill says: Taking personal viewpoints and combining them with the beliefs of society at large, this collection is poignant, charming, and downright kind.
For more information on Stumbling Through Adulthood: Linked Stories, please visit the author's website at: www.johnsheirer.com