The Wallace House of Pain

A Novelette

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
64 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2022
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Author Biography

Stevens began writing fiction during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis and ovarian cancer. She is a firm believer in fiction’s power to provoke thought while entertaining.

Her books include the novelette The Wallace House of Pain, full-length novel Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (both Contemporary Adult Fiction), Shannon’s Odyssey (Middle Grade), and the Bit Players series (Young Adult) for musical theatre-loving teens.

Her forthcoming novel, Beautiful and Terrible Things, features social justice themes and will be published by TouchPoint Press in early 2023.

When not writing fiction, she provides marketing and PR for solar energy companies.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite

The Wallace House of Pain: A Novelette centers around Xander and his estranged father, Jim. S.M. Stevens uses this short story to introduce us to Xander and his uncomfortable dinners with his father and his second wife, Kathy. Xander and Jim don’t seem to see eye to eye on anything and it’s getting increasingly harder for Xander to truly be himself around his father. Through a series of dinners, Xander introduces Jim and Kathy to the greater, less conventional world out there. The exposure forces them to see that not everything is black and white and that fighting for something important is worth the effort. Fortunately, it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks.

S.M. Stevens uses The Wallace House of Pain to introduce us to several central characters. Stevens tackles sensitive but relevant topics that many of the older generation don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge, including gender identity, sexual preference, racism, and women’s rights. The book might very well mirror a lot of young people’s upbringing or family situations and detail their difficulty in either coming out or going against the grain, so to speak. Stevens has done a wonderful and respectful job of bringing across a positive message of acceptance and love that any person who has ever struggled with that would love to read. I’m excited to read any future novels by this author and see what impact she has on the world today!