Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
As the name suggests, 20 Short Ones is a collection of twenty short stories. In each story, Dan Salerno has narrated how humans connect to one another. This connection may or may not turn out to be anything romantic, but the intent of this connection remains the human need to emotionally connect with another human being. For instance, the first story is about a boy named Agee. One day, while coming back from school, Agee got a chance to save a lady's (named Edie) life. He did the best that an eight-year-old boy could do and ended up saving Edie's life. He could have simply left it at that, but he kept visiting her to ensure that she was okay. It was very enriching to read how a kid managed to pull Edie out of her phase of self-destruction. In very few words, the author has sent a useful message to readers. The message, I believe, is that help comes in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the helper is unaware of his/her own potential, but if they are persistent enough in helping the needy, they just might be able to breathe life into a broken soul.
Although 20 Short Ones is a compilation of twenty fictional stories, Dan Salerno has defined the characters very well. Each character has a background story, a personality, a full physical description, and all other necessary ingredients that would enable readers to relate to them. Generally, short stories fall down in this area, but 20 Short Ones is not one of those. Before I read the blurb of 20 Short Ones, I initially thought that each story was focusing only on the relationships. The reader inside of me was looking for a variety of genres. However, after reading the author's intention in writing the book, I was able to commend his efforts.
There is so much depth in each story that readers who wish to read about human connections would find their time well spent. Some stories are as simple as somebody calling a stranger and ending up befriending them; whereas the others are as complex as having an in-depth discussion about biblical philosophies. Whatever the plot may be, each story conveys hope; a hope that relationships can be built anywhere and anytime. The author has reminded readers of the need for forgiveness, patience, persistence, and many other virtues. The book delivers what it promises.