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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Italian-born author Patrick Lombardi is distinctly his own voice. He writes with a mixture of acerbity and sharp humor in Junk Sale: Stories & Essays, his collection of essays and short stories. This anthology introduces us to a world that Lombardi inhabits where one cannot help but compare him to David Sedaris. But this is inexact and unfair, given that Lombardi is less empathic in his critical assessment of self, family, and society at large. Both his short stories and essays revolve around his experiences that helped shape him to become who he is--from pilfering toys of other children when he was a kid, to halfheartedly accepting a customer service job, there is a nerve-striking element to every story that is a sordid representation of the world we all live in.
Lombardi alerts our critical faculties to his distressing experiences as a man who works for a living. It is an eye-opener that America may be beautiful, but it does not owe us anything. Lombardi illustrates this in his former occupation of serving tables. Restaurants are hubs for people with a strong sense of entitlement with their condescending treatment of waiters. He witnesses crass materialism as a captive listener to a doctor bragging about his wife’s breast augmentation to a fellow doctor. Then there is the gym where he says, “Entering the threshold of a commercial fitness club can perhaps be equated to gliding through the rusted gates of an unexpected afterlife.” Junk Sale attests to the author's keen observation of people without being a busybody. Brutal honesty is what he is going for in writing this book. Should he decide to give it a sequel, we are bound to become introduced to a host of more interesting characters and observations in the future.