A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction Book 4 (Mementos Anthologies)

Fiction - Anthology
191 Pages
Reviewed on 10/29/2021
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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 Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Mementos by Theodore Jerome Cohen is a compilation of original flash fiction and short stories, and book four in the author's series, Mementos Anthologies. Using stock photography and photographs taken by others that depict a scene or a person as a prompt, Cohen weaves bite-sized tales ranging from the tragic, such as Bubbles, where a family photo from a day at a funfair preserves a heart-breaking moment in time, and Gate Six, where a mother waits for her husband to disembark from a plane that will never arrive. Others elicit a laugh, such as Cactus, the story of a couple who are definitely not taking the high road.

Mementos offers a total of thirty-nine stories in all, each easy enough and short enough to read in those precious moments of calm in lives that are usually moving from one personal commotion to the next. My favorite is the flash fiction Stir, a tale that begins with a man dedicated to his annual entry to a chili competition, absolutely certain he will make a memorable mark on the judges and revealing the “important day” that will ultimately be memorable for entirely different reasons. I enjoyed the use of pictures and the benefit of stock is crystal clear where images feature the work of K.S. Brooks in Snap and the monochrome vintage photograph of a woman writing Her Last Christmas Letter preempts a story formatted as the same. The writing is clean and Theodore Jerome Cohen is incredibly adept at developing characters and scenery in a tight space, consistently delivering quality, thought-provoking fiction.

Astrid Iustulin

Some moments deserve to be remembered. Until now, I do not think human beings have found more appropriate means than photography and writing to remember what happens. Theodore Jerome Cohen is a writer who knows the power of images and text. This is why he employs both of them in his collection of short stories, Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction. Every story begins with an image and is often very short (around 250 words or less), with some exceptions, but length is not essential in deciding whether Mementos is a good book. What really matters is Cohen's creative talent; he only needs one photograph to find inspiration.

I have read many of Theodore Jerome Cohen's books and have never been disappointed. With this fourth volume of Mementos, too, I was sure that I would spend a few pleasant hours in the company of a witty and brilliant writer. Cohen's stories, especially the shorter ones, always have unexpected endings and sometimes unhappy ones, but this is life, and very often a pleasant situation suddenly turns sad. In any case, readers will find many memorable stories and spend a few delightful hours in the company of characters of all kinds. I think Cohen's greatest talent is his ability to make the stories of so many different people coexist in a single book and to give each of them the best quality possible. Mementos is a book that I highly recommend for its extraordinary features.

Natalie Soine

Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction Book 4 (Mementos Anthologies) is written by Theodore Jerome Cohen and includes a wonderful collection of short stories from as little as 250 words. Each story is inspired by a picture prompt “used to spin words and phrases into literary tapestries readers can use to discover something about life.” The stories appeal to every taste and genre preference and include anything from children having conversations to elderly folk and FBI agents Whitman and Easton, who are tasked with taking down a mafia family. The author has included the pictures that prompted his stories, making the stories easier for the reader to understand.

Mementos is one of the most unusual, interesting books I have read in a very long time. The book gives a whole new meaning to “short stories.” It reminds me of licorice-all-sorts; every section is a different story. Some are related, and others are not. The pictures are beautiful, a fantastic visual effect that makes a significant impact on the reader. I particularly enjoyed the stories and pictures relating to West Side Story and the FBI stories. The variety of characters is well defined and easy to relate to. The stories are smooth flowing and quick to read. This is not the type of book that has to be read from start to finish. It can be put aside and returned to later, and some stories leave the ending up to the reader to consider and think about what could have happened. A pleasant change from long-winded novels and perfect for bedtime reading.