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Little Stories

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Little Stories is a compilation of past, present, and future. Li

    Little Stories is a compilation of past, present, and future.
    Little Stories present the reader with short glimpses written from scenes of the different stages and ages of life. Some of the same characters are woven throughout several of the stories. The themes of choices, decisions, plans, and multi-generation events progress with varying degrees of drama. Some have life lessons and other stories seem to be written as memories.
    The titles of some chapters such as Relativity, A Question of Perspective, A Triptych ... reflects the authors objective for the story. The main character in the story/chapter justifies or rationalizes their action or reactions to the choice they make for the situation. It may not be the most reasonable action for success, but it shows a side of human nature.

    One of the most astute statements in one of the little stories is, "It occurred to me how little we really know about anybody in this world, even the members of our family. It is a great mystery what hopes and dreams a person once held." This statement is profound and so true!

    I enjoyed the book, Little Stories. There are some edits needed for spelling.
    One of the stories brought a few tears...RIP Cosette.

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    Little Stories is a collection of short stories. All of the stor

    Little Stories is a collection of short stories. All of the stories take place modern day and are composed of people one could easily know or even be. It's not really easy to get into the details of the stories without giving away pretty much everything about them since they are all quite short and they don't ever seem to have very much going on, as in there's no complicated plots or characters. Actually, none of the characters were very dynamic so there was never really an option to root for them or really feel for them when something bad might happen etc. The stories themselves don't really seem to be moral tales but I suppose the recurring theme with the majority of them is the fact of being alone - even when you physically are not.

    The issues I had with the stories is that after reading a few of them they all just started to feel the same. The characters were all very similar to each other and some stories would just end when it felt like there could be more to it or at least be wrapped up a bit better. The only other issues were grammatical errors. I don't usually mention them unless they really stand out and interfere with my enjoyment of a book. There was just a lot of changing tenses going from past to present etc as well as using plural forms when it should be singular or leaving out articles and just little things like that. Basically it just needed better editing and then there wouldn't have been any problems because 90% of the issues would have been very easy to catch.

    Overall the book was a decent enough read and I can see some people thoroughly enjoying the tales. I did enjoy some of the stories myself but if you ask me if I would ever read it again I would say that I highly doubt it.
    *I did receive a free copy of the book in order to provide an honest review.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    Little Stories by Jeff Roberts is a fiction that reads like a no

    Little Stories by Jeff Roberts is a fiction that reads like a non-fiction. In the prologue, Jeff talks straight to the reader in a personal way, and explains where all the stories came from. If you don’t read the prologue you may get lost and confused while reading the book. He uses his own name quite a bit throughout Little Stories so it’s easy to start thinking you are reading about his life, but he does make it clear that they are fictional.

    Each tale in Little Stories seems to be more of a diary entry than separate pieces of work. The first story in the book is one of morality. Jeff (the character) trusts Sandy with all of his soul and he ends up getting run over. Throughout the rest of the book the stories range from judgmental, scandalous, heartwarming, heartbreaking, to inspiring. In some of the later works of art Mr. Roberts re-uses a few of the character names, it’s not entirely clear if he meant to do that or not. I really enjoyed reading the last story “Cosette”. It is about a little girl, Caty, and her kitten, Cossette. It’s one of the tragic tales but also one of the sweetest. The love between Caty and Cosette is so strong.

    The language was a bit strong at times but seemed necessary for portraying a character in a certain way, like the prostitute in “Most Likely to Succeed”. The book could benefit from some editing from cover to cover to fix simple mistakes that make reading a bit bumpy. Other than that it is a great book that you can read over and over. I found some good morals in some of the stories. Anyone who enjoys short stories will appreciate Little Stories.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

    Jeff Roberts takes a look at life and the challenges it offers. Roberts demonstrates that we only think we are in control.

    Little Stories is a collection of 11 short stories. Jeff Roberts takes a look at life and the challenges it offers. Roberts demonstrates that we only think we are in control. The best stories are the ones that look at relationships between man and woman. One story discusses a young couple living together, more than roommates--but less than committed. The female spends time with an old flame, forming a rift between the two roommates. In another story, a married couple decides they need to spend time apart. When the husband returns early, his wife does not show the sentiment he expected.
    Roberts writes in descriptive manner. He conveys the hurt, confusion, and disappointment his characters experience. Each story expresses the depth of emotion that we each feel when we face a situation gone wrong. After pondering this read, I feel that Jeff Roberts is demonstrating death. Death of a man, death of a pet, death of a relationship, death of trust... Roberts is an extremely talented author, and we will see more of him in the future.

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A compelling book

    Jeff Roberts has accomplished a remarkable feat with his first book, Little Stories, a series of well written vignettes that focus on love, loss, and the eternal quest to belong.

    In The Letter we are introduced to Steve Hawkins, a college student who skips classes in favor of drinking in a local bar. After losing his savings on a pool hall bet, Hawkins turns a new leaf and redeems himself by delving into his studies. At the end of the story he is rewarded with a check from his parents who believe him to be a dedicated student. In an ironic twist, Hawkins gleefully accepts the cash and makes the first of many unwitting choices. Roberts' writing is sparse yet honest, such as when he meditates on the skill it takes to win at a pool game, "He shot pool as if he were locked in an intimate slow dance with a woman, pacing the table with a steel-eye glare, every shot smooth and assured." Brief as the story may be, the reader gets a complete and satisfying picture of Hawkins, flaws and all.

    Because the author has only a limited amount of time to draw in the reader, the short story is a difficult genre to pull off. Despite this, Roberts uses the short story form to his advantage, most notably in Kisses. Kisses recalls a series of brief recollections between Roberts' and his mother, some difficult, some mundane. These reflections add up to a moving portrayal in which the author comes to the realization that he doesn't know his mother that well; that he has only seen their relationship through the eyes of a child. This awareness is heightened when his mother recalls a crisis that occurred in her adolescence - an episode that clearly has had a profound effect on her life. For the first time the author sees his mother as an individual with dashed hopes of her own, causing him to further reflect on his relationship to his children.

    The predominant themes in Little Stories concern themselves with relationships gone awry, and the loneliness that fills the void. Roberts successfully takes us along this daunting journey with his very capable writing skills. Little Stories offers a glimpse of real talent, and leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the next installment.

    Quill says: A compelling book of short stories that will leave the reader wanting more.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Great Collection of Short Stories that Captures Range of Human Emotions

    When I was growing up, my favorite location in the public library was the Biography section. Always of particular fascination would be diaries through which readers can witness an evolution in thought or perspective from one stage in life to another. Even in writing that is not as bare and personal as a journal, good writers still let us into their worlds through their chosen subjects and expression of emotion. In his new book Little Stories, Jeff Roberts shares a collection of short stories that he wrote during his undergraduate studies. Each piece offers a look into the fragile human psyche and, at least for this reader, provides an intensely personal reaction to situations of social dynamics that are painfully honest. Roberts offers a glimpse into the worlds of his characters at a specific moment in their lives and does so through such engaging prose that his readers will undoubtedly remember a time when they found themselves in such a situation, or at least would have reacted the same way given the circumstances. <BR/><BR/>Roberts shares in some of his marketing material for Little Stories that reviewing the stories to compile for the book caused him both moments in which he cringed and others that brought great pride. I can understand the author¿s wide range of emotions, as he reveals so much of himself in each story. Some of the pieces he admits are actual moments from his life, while other stories appear to be comprised of fictional characters but who still evoke such emotion that the author seems to pull from a very real and personal place. Regardless of the inspiration for each story, Roberts is magnificent at developing rich three-dimensional characters over the span of just a few pages. He also gives us the opportunity to relive similar episodes from a place in our lives that is hopefully now wiser and more mature. <BR/><BR/>One of the most powerful features of Roberts¿ writing is the way that he examines the loneliness that we often experience even in the most intimate of relationships. This study ranges from a young boy who feels alone as he ponders the consequences of a failing mark on his report card to a husband who returns home to a wife who is utterly distant and finding her romantic fulfillment through a computer screen. Whether literally through the text or through the feelings he evokes by more subtle means, Roberts brings us to the conclusion of each story with a reminder that we really are individual entities who may be left alone at any moment. This feeling of isolation is most often not caused by a physical separation, but instead an emotional, sexual, or other manifested divide. <BR/><BR/>Often times, I will keep a collection of short stories on my nightstand with the intention of reading one selection each evening. In the case of Little Stories by Jeff Roberts, I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. Since then, I have reopened the book many times to read certain stories that really spoke to me. Little Stories contains raw emotions that never seem contrived or melodramatic. Instead, Roberts displays a great talent for capturing a real sense of human weakness and longing with the respect that these emotions deserve. I know that I am not done reading Little Stories, as it is a collection that can be read again and again. But, I also hope that Jeff Roberts chooses to publish another work that lets us into another stage in his life¿s journey. I have no doubt that the result will be just as fascinatin

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  • Posted December 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Little Stories: Eleven Musings on the Fragility of Life

    Jeff Roberts is an author to watch. His first book, LITTLE STORIES, a compilation of works written while an undergraduate at University of Iowa, is such a rich literary experience for the reader that it seems we have a very important new voice rising in American literature. He has the ability to observe quiet events of everyday life and from them mold brief episodes of stories that seem so much a part of our own experiences that he startles us with his intuitive eye. Most of the emotions he creates or shares suggest a preoccupation with the tenuous threads that hold our lives together. Many are sad stories of loss, of disillusion, of the emptiness that is created when twists and turns of events alter our lives or rise up in front of our vision of how life should be. But Jeff Roberts is not a morose writer: his descriptions of his settings for his little scenes or acts in the nebulous play of life are painted with fine strokes of beauty that balance the words that lead us into the cracks so readily accessible in the human integument in his hands. <BR/><BR/>In describing landscapes such as that in Iowa in autumn, he cracks the egg of twilight that happens to illuminate for a vanishing moment the 'boundless acres of dirty greens, yellows and browns that paint the fields stretching out to the horizon.' In KISSES, a series of memories of his now aged mother whose busy life interrupted those special moments of shared expressions of love, he writes 'As I stood on my front porch and watched her drive her car up the road and disappear in traffic, it occurred to me how little we really know about anybody in this world, even the members of our family. It is a great mystery what hopes and dreams a person once held, what sacrifices and joys they had felt and what victories and traumas had formed them. Looking out over the rooftops as the sun faded in the west, I was filled with a feeling of warmth and love at this complex, bittersweet journey we all share called life.' And that is as terse a summary of Jeff Roberts' worldview as can be written. <BR/><BR/>This is a winsome little book, one that holds more moments worth re-reading than most authors accomplish in a major novel. To say that he is sensitive to the human condition is too embarrassingly obvious to state. He is a born storyteller and a poet the likes of whom we rarely encounter in first books. This is one of the finest book releases of the year, and a welcome to the field of literature, Jeff Roberts. Highly recommended. Grady Harp

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