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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Wrapped in Quotations: One Gay Guy's Commonplace Book by Tom Beattie is a collection work by the self-described “quotophile”. The anthology has stories of different lengths, primarily flash fiction, with several that are lyrical and wonderfully poetic. Each piece revolves around a quote or ten, bouncing from one to the next with intermissions in the form of brief notes and humorous morsels delivered in bite-sized prose. The highlights for me are a copy of an award Beattie won in 1963 from his local library, Marie Antoinette's fateful cake proclamation and the possible involvement of nefarious snack food companies, a flash fiction called Deep State about a grabby president, and conspiracies surrounding an alternative noun for cat, and a touching reflection on a quote from a friend in his high school yearbook.
Tom Beattie lets his wit shine through in Wrapped in Quotations, penning with such badinage that I kept reading bits out loud to my husband, who was impressed, and my teen daughter, who was pretending to be totally unimpressed but really was. Where a lot of the pieces are sprinkled with humor and have an air of levity, others are more serious, addressing issues of the past and those that are threatening at this very moment. Beattie carves out a few pages for COVID-19, with a genuinely empathetic message to readers during a difficult time. A connection is made between the disregard for the 99% in a Dickensian world, and the stranger, sadder than fiction disconnect that still happens today. I want to say that this is the type of book that someone would keep next to the toilet for important private reading, but it's just too good for that. This book definitely, definitely deserves a spot in the drawer of my nightstand so I may too have “a shot at mega profunditude," even if it's all sparked by Beattie's work.