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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!