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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
In his newest book, Just Enough Words: An Assortment of Laconic Stories and Essays, George Francis Reid gives readers plenty to think about. The warm humanism coupled with an unadulterated point of view of the world make for rare and socially engaging writing. An unusual book featuring a compendium of short stories and essays on a variety of topics—family, social issues, addiction, boredom, solitude, love, abuse, and more.
The collection begins with “Mom’s Memory, Dad’s Temper and Me,” which happens to be one of my favorites, a short story in which the author explores the theme of abuse—the narrator’s father is a tyrant who hasn’t treated his mother properly. In this story, the author creates a powerful conflict and allows readers to feel the pain of a dysfunctional family. “After the customary period, Dad married his lady friend and stripped the house he once shared with Mom of her memories. To escape the cold, he and his bride purchased an additional home in warmer climes. Together they thrived.” The ending has a decisive note, a kind of judgement: while Mom is no longer scared—because of death—Dad is losing his memory.
George Francis Reid has a unique narrative style, free like the wind, and I enjoyed the author’s ability to use language that is both simple and symbolic. Some of the stories articulate on the common issues readers encounter, the doldrums of life, and the excitement of meaningful moments. Just Enough Words: An Assortment of Laconic Stories and Essays is a delightful read, thanks to the beauty of the language and the variety in themes and style. There is something for everyone in this collection. The tone is deceptively mild and friendly, but underneath is the rush of powerful currents carrying messages that will evoke the reader’s curiosity.