Friday, May 29, 2015

We Regret to Inform You: Stories by Tim Fredrick

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Tim Fredrick
Author Website: 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

A collection of short stories ranging from a few paragraphs to a constant stream of thought, Tim Fredrick offers up fourteen cases which explore the connection men have with the people in their lives. The stories hail from different genres and viewpoints to allow the read to see through a man's eyes. Not only is the connection explored, but everything that comes with it - anger, lust, happiness, disgust, fulfillment, love.

Come discover the boy who would break a world record, a father who slowly turned to stone, a cat's toy that finally finds its motivation and so much more. Each story presents a world in which someone either finds or loses that which is most important to them, leading us to shift how we think about our relationships with one another.

I used to think that short stories were a temporary fix when I didn't have a new novel to devour. Most were pure enjoyment without having to pay attention to every nuance of the story. Small vacations to other places or being swept up in an adventure for a few minutes appealed to me whenever I wasn't nose-deep into something longer. During a search of something new to read on NetGalley, I saw this offering by the author and wondered exactly how did a father turn to stone and what in the world did a cat toy want so much?

The fourteen stories in this collection focused on a man's part of a relationship. Whether it was as a parent, a friend, a lover or even catnip-filled mouse, the subjects of the stories tried to find a connection with another party. Many featured an one-on-one type of interaction between the main character and the object of their relationship. They were told from different vantage points as well. It was easy to find the overall theme in each of the stories, making this collection a more cohesive book. For me, there were a few characters that stood out for me. One was the cat toy which simply wanted to be an equal to his sister, the cat. It was interesting to see the toy have some of the same feelings and emotions that I've had in a few past relationships. Another was a male nurse in a futuristic hospice, caring for a recently thawed man from our century. His reactions to the thawed man's behavior and beliefs had me wondering what I would have done or said if I were in his place.

Each of these stories had their own pace. Some were quick reads that seemed to start and finish in a blink of an eye. One such story was called 'The Kind of Person'. This one struck a chord with me because I could relate to both people within that marriage. I understood their vantage points as well as that loneliness and frustration. The other selections in the book had a slower pace to them, but they moved forward that was enjoyable. My emotions rode the roller coaster that these stories provided. Not only did I laugh, cringe and smile at the events, I also cried when I read 'The Drawer'. I wasn't swept up by the story at first, but as the man at the heart of the story continued to do everything but go near that drawer, I was hooked. The last three paragraphs took my heart and ripped it. Such a sad situation for everyone involved.

All in all, I liked this collection a whole lot more than I anticipated. With so many different aspects to a relationship to explore, the author set a high bar for the collection to reach. However, I think he did a great job of hitting that bar. He imbued his characters with the flaws and failings that made it easy to relate to them. There was a little bit of the 'everyman' in each character. Their words and deeds could have easily been our own and that's what makes a great story last in our memories. If you're looking for a great collection of well-written stories to tide you over until your next novel fix, or simply enjoy connecting to the stories you read, this book should be on your list.

We Regret to Inform You: Stories by Tim Fredrick is currently available at many online retailers in either paperback or Kindle (digital) versions. Visit the following link to purchase from the book's Amazon page.
We Regret to Inform You: Stories by Tim Fredrick

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