The Acorn Stories

Second Edition

Fiction - Anthology
170 Pages
Reviewed on 05/03/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Duane Simolke's The Acorn Stories: Second Edition is a collection of inter-connected short stories about the inhabitants of the town of Acorn in West Texas. Two lovers try to control the trajectory of their relationship, unwittingly driving a wedge between each other. While swimming in the college campus pool, the narrator goes down memory lane and reminisces about his childhood sweetheart. A deaf and gay high school English teacher stands his ground against an ultra-conservative football coach. A misogynist unable to pay his rent tries to rekindle a relationship with his childhood crush. A landlady's Siamese cat keeps messing up her romantic entanglements. An old man waits eagerly for his loved ones to return, not realizing the passage of time. A talented artist gets another chance to pursue her passion with an unexpected gift from her husband.

Duane Simolke presents an enthralling collection of slice-of-life stories set in a fictional Texas town. These tales shed light on the various facets of human behavior and showcase how seemingly mundane events can change the course of people's lives. Simolke's characters are very well-developed and feel like people you may have met in real life. Becky, Regina, Kyle, and Dirk all have distinctive personalities, and their interactions create drama that is delicious to consume as a reader. There is a sense of authenticity to the town of Acorn itself, which makes the setting immersive and the tales all the more captivating. Some characters and relationships carry on through multiple stories, while others remain as standalones. As a short story lover, I thoroughly enjoyed The Acorn Stories: Second Edition. Highly recommended.