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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Life is full of stories to tell, stories to share. When you pay attention to those around you, it's easy enough to come up with a wealth of stories. A man sits down at the bar with a complete stranger and shares his story about how he lost his wife. Just listening to the tale, the stranger who listens might, at first, wonder if the man actually lost his wife as in she went missing, or if the man lost his wife through divorce. The sad truth is slowly unveiled.
A Man Who Lost His Wife is the title of this book, but it's also the title of the first story in this collection. Author Bob Stockton, a Navy veteran, has seen a lot during his years of service. Some of his stories are sad, like the first one, but there are also a few humorous stories, like the three-line, one sentence story, about the erstwhile lover, a story he almost wrote and then thought better of it. There's also a surreal story called The Dream. We've all had them at one time or another, mostly forgotten once we awaken. But this dream wasn't forgotten and its bizarre retelling has the reader breathe a sigh of relief when the 'dreamer' decides he'd better just get up and let the dog out.
Bar Michi is a very poignant story about a Navy man visiting Yokosuka, Japan in the 1960s and the Japanese family he connects with. The story progresses over the years as the main character revisits Yokosuka a couple of times and what he learns about the family during each visit. A powerful story about how life moves on.
Life is definitely a road well-traveled, as the cover illustration suggests. It is also a rich resource of story material. The author has, over his life, been observant as well as resourceful as he collected a real collage of stories about life: real, surreal, happy, sad and even, at times, funny. Thanks for sharing.