Things That Cause Inappropriate Happiness

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“All I wanted was for you to see me”

How to capture the joy of reading this, this collection of more than two dozen tiny perfect literary gems? Each story distinct, but at its heart, this is a cohesive collection – tearing through layers of yearning and isolation, revealing narratives centering on the lost, the lonely and the disconnected.

With heart-in-hand these vignettes, (snapshots really, most just a few pages long) provide glimpses, bordered sharply in time and space, of fractured lives in everyday emotional crisis. Featuring ordinary people, many of them narcissistic, creative, troubled, transitioning or searching for identity, stories are usually voiced (intimately) in the first person, but are sometimes (chillingly) narrated in the third person, to reveal a character seeking the the opposite effect.

Narrators may be displaced temporarily in exotic locales (Hawaii, Miami) or cultures (often moving to or from Canada or Israel), and yet, wherever they land, it is clear that they do not fit in. Internally crumbling with longing and love and sometimes landing on absurd or desperate coping mechanisms, we meet, between the pages: those affected by the cataclysmic horrors of war; artist, writers, ballerinas, and photographers pursuing their “green shiny glittery” spark of promise; young adults dispossessed by parents, un-supported and emotionally outcast; lovers caught up in the poignancy of “what could have been, but not quite” as they experience love lost disproportionately.

Bullied and body-shamed, grieving or emotionally abused, these characters will resonate with anyone who has ever reached out, or desperately wanted to. Exposing and revealing the deeply personal, these beautifully-rendered characters manage to remain detached, restrained, or simply understated in their revelations, leaving the reader all the more touched by the gaping vulnerabilities exposed, amidst the gracefulness of their telling.

Impossible to pick favorites, yet the following must be called out – the achingly tender reflections of love in “Look at him”; the sublime tribute to a soul mate in “Love me till I’m me again”; and the heartbreaking rawness of “A good story to tell”.


A great big thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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