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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
I love this anonymous opening quote: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” How true. Life is like that: full of auspicious moments that flitter past almost undetected until, somewhere along the way, one of these ‘auspicious moments’ becomes ingrained in our memories as something grand, even epic in proportions. As Theodore Jerome Cohen writes in his opening comments to his recent book, Mementos: A Unique Collection of Short Stories & Flash Fiction (Book 5), “As writers, aren’t these memories – both the physical and the “mementos of the mind” – the essence of our works, the prompts we use to spin the words and phrases into literary tapestries our readers can use to discover something about life, a bit about us, and, in a process, perhaps, a little about themselves?” Like his other anthologies, this book contains a vast array of genres, from memoir and history to fantasy and science fiction to murder mystery and so much more.
Theodore Jerome Cohen has a clever mind, one that projects a story from even the simplest prompts: like the brief conversation between two women at a skating rink, the older woman explaining how she always came during the Christmas season with her friends to skate and see the big tree all decorated. Only now, the visit is a memory of happier times: “I’m here to keep their memories alive and remind myself of those simpler times when we didn’t have a care in the world, our futures looked bright, and nothing seemed more important than the bonds of friendship that held us together.” Simpler times and good friends; isn’t that really what life is all about. I think this little flash story, Tree, is my favorite from this collection. From the words of an articulate storyteller, sit back and enjoy a serene collection of mementos and choose your own personal favorite from the variety.