Mementos

A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction - Book 2

Fiction - Anthology
182 Pages
Reviewed on 11/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Theodore Jerome (Ted) Cohen is an award-winning author who has published more than ten novels--all but one of them mystery/thrillers--two books of short stories, and eight flash-fiction anthologies. He also writes illustrated storybooks for children (K-3) in the series Stories for the Early Years as well as Young Adult (YA) novels under the pen name "Alyssa Devine." During the course of his 45-year career he worked as an engineer, scientist, CBS Radio Station News Service (RSNS) commentator, private investigator, and Antarctic explorer. What he's been able to do with his background is mix fiction with reality in ways that even his family and friends have been unable to unravel!

Dr. Cohen's writings (he holds three degrees in the physical sciences) have received the highest reviews from Feathered Quill, Hollywood Book Reviews, Kirkus Discoveries, Pacific Book Review, Reader Views, and Readers' Favorite, among others, with many of his books recognized for their excellence through medals awarded by several of these same organizations following their annual book competitions. In 2017, for example, Readers' Favorite awarded Dr. Cohen's first short story anthology, The Road Less Taken: A Collection of Unusual Short Stories - Book 1, a Silver Medal while the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) awarded the same book its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Short Stories. The NABE also awarded Dr. Cohen's collection, Creative Ink, Flashy Fiction: Flash Fiction Anthology - Book 3, its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Anthology - Winter, 2018.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Mementos by Theodore Jerome Cohen is an exposition of creativity. Mr. Cohen has penned an anthology of short stories inspired by photography. Included in this collection are imaginative tales of family, friendship, baseball, adventure, and nostalgia. Some of these tales are slightly taller than the others, which will make you smile and marvel at such ingenuity, while others are filled with sobering realism and are a little creepy. Cohen couples his memories with touches of fiction, crafting entertaining and engaging short stories that stick with you much longer than it takes to read them.

Without a doubt, Theodore Jerome Cohen’s Mementos will be added to his long list of successful literary works. Cohen unleashes his artistic “mind’s eye” into each of the captivating and enriching short stories. He has the ability to attach astonishing prose to a photograph. Not only is Cohen a masterful storyteller, but he is the king of dialogue. The conversations of the characters draw you into the scene, making you more than a reader - you become an eavesdropper. Of all the forty-three chapters, Machines is my favorite. It brilliantly describes the essence of family: “I’ll always be there for you.” The beauty of flash fiction is that the reader is immediately thrust into the story. Within each of these collective stories, the setting and plot are instantly revealed, like a snapshot in time. Theodore Jerome Cohen’s Momentos innovatively demonstrates that our memories shape us and become a part of our evolving self; each reflective memento of the mind has its own story to tell.

Asher Syed

Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction by Theodore Jerome Cohen is the second book in the author's Mementos Anthology Series, preceded by book one of the same name. Comprised of an ambitious forty-three pieces of Cohen's work, each story reads independently and at a pace that permits bite-sized moments in the lives of his characters while still serving up the same double portion of entertainment in this second helping. The stories range in both size and subject, from the flash fiction piece Curves, wherein two Vietnam vets fondly recall the bravery of a mutual heroic acquaintance and the irony of him surviving a war only to meet his maker in a decidedly avoidable way, to the slightly lengthier short story Machines, which follows a young woman with dreams beyond her country upbringing, moving from success to success until she reaches the pinnacle of Manhattan heights—both literally and figuratively—only to discover that the familial ties that bind are more important than anything else.

The first thing that intrigued me about the latest Theodore Jerome Cohen collection of stories in Mementos was the use and inclusion of his creative muse. Each piece is accompanied by the photograph that inspired it, bringing to life a homespun version of story settings and a fictionalized version of how it came to be. My father and I used to play a game at shopping malls where we'd pick out a random person and he'd ask things like, “What color do you think their bedroom is?” or “Do you think they have a dog or a cat?” and other similar made-up backstories. So for me, Mementos resurfaced forgotten memories of a wonderful bit of my childhood. My favorite story is Fox, which has a hunting party in the midst of a track and chase as the red fox watches from above, with a delightful and witty full-circle finale. I really loved this book and am absolutely certain that others who read it will be equally smitten by Cohen's writing.

K.C. Finn

Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories and Flash Fiction is a work of collected stories in a variety of themes and genres, and was penned by author Theodore Jerome Cohen. In this second anthology collection by the author, we run the gamut of mysteries, suspense tales and interpersonal dramas, but each story digs deep into its own emotional morals and reflects something very true and telling about humanity back to us. Written with a flair for realism, grit and a poignant sense of pathos, the stories will be sure to bring smiles and tears to those who encounter them, no matter the walk of life that brings them to this book.

Author Theodore Jerome Cohen has crafted a varied but cohesive set of short works and flash fiction pieces that could easily inhabit the bedside or coffee table of casual readers who still want to experience something significant in their short sojourns into the fiction world. As the title suggests, the plot construction offers a brief snapshot into people’s lives, a style which reminded me a lot of Raymond Carver, and the author makes expert use of such a short number of words to convey character through sharp dialogue and astute moments of prose narration. The accompanying photographs provide an effective way to set the mood and give the book a professional finish. Most important of all, I felt engaged with every tale from its opening lines, and each one left me thinking beyond it. Overall, I would highly recommend Mementos for fans of accomplished short fiction that delivers real food for thought.