Letting Go


Fiction - Short Story/Novela
85 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2019
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Author Biography

Len Joy had an idyllic childhood, growing up in the gem of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua, NY. His interests growing up involved sports. He went off to college with dreams of becoming a football hero and world famous novelist.
Didn’t happen. He switched his major from English to Finance, quit the football team, but married one of the cheerleaders – Suzanne Sawada.
They moved to Chicago where Suzanne became a corporate lawyer and Len, with his MBA and CPA, became the auditing manager for U. S. Gypsum. Despite the thrill of auditing gypsum plants, Len wanted a different challenge.
He bought a manufacturing company in Arizona and commuted to Phoenix. Despite the travel, he managed to have three kids. While flying, he read hundreds of novels, which renewed his dream of becoming a world famous author.
In 2004 he wound down his business and started taking writing courses and participating in triathlons.
His first novel, AMERICAN PAST TIME was praised by KIRKUS as a “darkly nostalgic study of an American family through good times and bad, engagingly set against major events from the ‘50s to the ‘70s as issues of race simmer in the background…expertly written and well-crafted.”
His second novel, BETTER DAYS was described by FOREWORD Reviews as “a bighearted, wry, and tender novel that focuses on love and loyalty.” KIRKUS called it “a character-rich skillfully plotted Midwestern drama.”
Today, Len is a nationally ranked triathlete and competes internationally representing the United States as part of TEAM USA.

    Book Review

Reviewed by A. L. Peevey for Readers' Favorite

Letting Go: Stories by Len Joy is a collection of twenty-one short stories of varying lengths, ranging from less than half a page to five pages or more. Some are written in the first person while others are in the third person. Riding a Greyhound Bus into the New World is the wistful tale of a widowed man remembering the innocence of his youth. Triage recounts the snapshot memories of a retired doctor lying severely injured on a mountain biking trail. The Girl from Yesterday gives us perspective on the changes and drama in a young woman’s life after breast enhancement surgery. The Toll Collector, one of the shorter offerings, opens several brief views into the life of a courteous commuter. Guilt over the disappearance of a younger sibling drives the story in Nina’s Song. Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood connects with a famous Robert Frost poem in a poignant way, while the final and title story, Letting Go, deals mainly with the recollections of a now-respectable woman with a colorful past as she awaits news of her very seriously ill husband.

Letting Go: Stories by Len Joy presents us with realistic vignettes, like bursts of life, from the lives of ordinary people who could be someone we know. This talented author, writing in straightforward language, allows us to draw our own conclusions. Part of the charm of these stories is that they do not take very long to read, so we are immediately immersed in the story. They deal with guilt and introspection but mainly with loss and how the main characters struggle to come to grips with it. Also, some of the characters may appear in a minor role in one story but take on a more prominent role in another one. This intertwining adds cohesion to the story collection, making them almost seem like chapters in a longer piece and not just a series of unconnected tales. This feature allows us to reengage with previous characters and discover more about them. Readers who like realistic stories will be drawn to this collection and also to other stories by Len Joy.