Don Tassone is the author of two novels and six short story collections. He and his wife Liz live in Loveland, Ohio. They have four children.
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
When times get rough, you can always close your eyes and think back to a special childhood memory. That’s what one little boy does: he remembers his little red wagon and the bumpy ride on the sidewalk as his mother pulled it along, while he sat contentedly munching on animal crackers. Life is like that: calm and bumpy and full of, yes, you might add, animal crackers to munch on. And then there are the masks we are compelled to wear to protect ourselves from this relentless virus, but, when the pandemic is over, will we be able to take off the masks and recognize others – even recognize ourselves? These are sad stories: death, loss, heartbreaks. These stories are a part of life, too.
Don Tassone’s book, Collected Stories, is a collection of fifty stories, flash fiction, fantasy, creative nonfiction, and nonfiction, though, arguably, even the fiction stories are also nonfiction in their relevance and poignancy. Each story, even flash fiction, is packed with sentiments and unexpected (sometimes unplanned and unwanted) realities. Even the fantasy is enmeshed with reality. To say that all the stories are compassionate in their telling seems simplistic, but it’s true. These stories reveal a writer who is truly intent on his craft and appreciates the reasons why he writes: “I write as an invitation to appreciate life more deeply.”
The author shares his visions of humanity, from the simplest telling of a young boy who offers to cut the grass for an elderly man on his street. A bond develops, one of unexpected friendship, as the man continually pays the boy more than is asked, invites him for lunch and they even take rides together in the old man’s classic car. It’s a very touching story, one that will bring tears to readers’ eyes, as is the case with most of these stories. As the author points out repeatedly, there is goodness in humanity; all you have to do is look for the little things and appreciate everything you see and witness. This is a collection of stories that needs multiple reads to absorb the intensity of each theme.