A Collection of Stories

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
234 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2017
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Author Biography

Christopher Werkman is a retired art teacher who still paints. The image on the cover of his collection, Girlfriending , is one of his paintings. Werkman lives on a few acres outside Haskins, Ohio, with his partner Karen and too many cats. He plays too much golf and tennis, and rides his Kawasaki Ninja anytime there is sufficient traction. A number of the stories in Girlfriending have been previously published, but the majority have not. Werkman's novel, Difficult Lies, was published in 2015

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joana James for Readers' Favorite

Girlfriending by Christopher T. Werkman is a lovely collection of intriguing short stories. I have never read a collection with so many diverse settings, characters and situations. Each story, whether one page long or several, transports you into its universe effortlessly. I was hooked from story one. All the characters are very well developed and I was amazed that the author could do it for every single one in such short literary pieces. This author has a definite talent.

Girlfriending, on the whole, takes you on so many different emotional spins that there’s something in there for everyone. Some stories are disturbing whilst others are humorous or even emotional. There were characters that I was longing to hear from after their story was done, and others I tried hard not to yell at in the crowded airport departure lounge where I did much of my reading whilst waiting for a tardy flight. It was certainly hard to put this book down and I even became annoyed when my flight finally arrived because it meant that I’d have to stop reading for just a few minutes. I was that invested in these characters. So many of them, so many emotions.

Girlfriending is a unique take on the short story and I would definitely love to see Christopher T. Werkman transform some of them into full-length novels or maybe even novellas. I highly recommend this book to just about anyone, there is something in there for all readers. The length of the stories makes reading on the go very easy. Take the plunge, it’s a great book!

Sarah Stuart

Girlfriending: A Collection of Stories by Christopher T Werkman comprises twenty-six stories of varying lengths and styles, all of them about an aspect of relationships. The protagonists may be male or female, and almost any adult age. The only certainty is that from the first story to the last they are thought-provoking and entertaining. Girlfriending, the title story, is actually, and appropriately, number thirteen and it leads from what appears to be elderly Archie Descamp’s visits to his dead girlfriends’ graves to a dramatic surprise ending in a funeral parlour. The story immediately after it, Crapshoot, is the shortest, but Christopher T Werkman still contrives a satisfying completeness. The beauty of short stories is they fit so well into busy lives, and Girlfriending is a fine collection.

I enjoyed Girlfriending: A Collection of Stories because I couldn’t guess the end of any of the stories, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect of the next; they are all so different. My own personal favourite is Crashing. It grabs the reader with lines like: “Watching him move with that cycle was sexual. High compression porn.” And yet it is well grounded in Lacey’s experiences in Iraq; even the cause of her breakdown on active service links directly to her sympathy for a skunk that has sprayed her with its appallingly smelly defence liquid. Christopher T Werkman is a masterful writer of short stories and I recommend them to all readers. Favourites will vary, but enjoyment of them all is guaranteed.

Deborah Lloyd

A wide variety of romantic relationship tales comprise Girlfriending: A Collection of Stories, written by Christopher T. Werkman. This rich assortment of stories seems to encompass every socio-economic and educational class that exists in today’s modern world. The cast of characters encompasses returning veterans from the Iraqi conflicts, customers in rundown bars, and members of the local tennis club. The characters are varied and intriguing. Within a few short paragraphs, another scene is built and embellished with specific and realistic details. How the author represents both the male and female genders from tale to tale is layered with subtle, and not-so-subtle, aspects. The interactions between the genders are revealing and profound. The tone of each piece, as well as the voice of each character, covers a wide range of personalities. After each story, it feels as if the reader has met new people and become well acquainted with each one.

The author is a skillful writer as he moves from one work to the next, always captivating the reader. The qualities of being concise, but descriptive, pointed, but poignant, insightful and relatable are significant qualities found throughout his writings. Author Christopher T. Werkman demonstrates masterful writing styles in Girlfriending: A Collection of Stories. The reader will be engaged from the first story to the last, anticipating what the next tale will hold. In each of these stories, the reader wants to know what happens next. Many of these tales could be the seeds for interesting novels!

Amanda Barnett

There are many wonderfully thought provoking short stories in here, encompassing many aspects of our lives, the people with whom we associate, and how we interact. My favorite aspect is almost always the ending. Sometimes it left me thinking, "Yeah, what a way to fit with the climax!" Other times I thought that was an interesting way to leave a story - I was almost reminded of themes of the remake of "Fantasy Island" in the late '90s -- the readers may not get what they expect, but get what they need.