Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Healing Book by Dustin Grinnell is a collection of short, slice-of-life stories about people trying to navigate the various absurdities of life. "An Affable Man" follows a young man disillusioned with his corporate career who finally finds meaning in his life after a chance encounter with a captive orca. A mother worries about her rebellious daughter and is pleasantly surprised when her daughter breaks the cycle of being an overprotective parent with her own child in "The Good Parent." In "Cured," a Harvard immunologist working with malaria-infected patients in Kenya finds his belief once again. A grieving husband turns to bibliotherapy as a last resort to cure his dying wife of cancer in "The Healing Book." "The Disciple" follows the experiences of a woman caught in the trappings of a con man's cult.
Through these short stories, author Dustin Grinnell places ordinary men and women in situations where they reevaluate their core beliefs and ideologies to circumvent their circumstances. The Healing Book is a riveting short story collection that forces you to introspect and offers a glimpse of life through the perspectives of people from a wide variety of backgrounds trying to overcome its challenges and hurdles in their own ways. All the characters in these stories feel like real people coming to terms with their own shortcomings and being human in their vulnerabilities. Despite the underlying existential themes integrated into the tales, Grinnell manages to make each story feel distinct and unique on its own. All in all, a brilliant collection for short story readers.