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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Blue Collar Blues and Other Stories by Bob Stockton is an enticing anthology of 46 short stories divided into four sections, and most of these tales are based on the author’s experiences growing up in a working-class neighborhood in New Jersey, as well as his period of service in the Navy. The second section, however, contains stand-alone stories that are not limited to autobiographical tales. They present allegorical stories that deal with humanity, the psyche, and even the absurd. These short stories are something you need to experience, as it gives you a unique journey into the imagination of one man who tells us a lot about the human condition.
This short story collection is linked to the author's life experiences, which include naval service, globetrotting, and exploring America. Bob Stockton is an accomplished short story writer who has an admirable ability to find extraordinariness in the ordinary. While most of the stories are based on his adventures, the story themselves have a life of their own. Some are very grounded, while others have a kind of strangeness that is surrealistic. Whichever the case, his prose will lure you, and once you are there, the reading experience becomes immersive and entertaining. My favorite story in this collection is Key West, where the weighty geopolitical events surrounding Castro’s victory in Cuba find the protagonist at 03:00 in the morning, taking the port lookout watch on the bridge of a submarine that collided with a napping whale! The Blue Collar Blues and Other Stories is highly recommended for all avid readers of realistic writing and short fiction.