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Posted February 1, 2004
I picked up my copy of THE ACORN GATHERING at the same time I bought THE ACORN STORIES. I bought the latter, because someone whose literary judgment I respect told me that author Duane Simolke had written some genuinely good stories, all about the small town of Acorn, west Texas (which did, indeed, turn out to be the case). My reasons behind purchasing THE ACORN GATHERING were two-fold. One, the book, although written by six authors (Simolke included), was being promoted as a follow-up anthology to THE ACORN STORIES. Two, and more importantly (to me anyway), the authors of THE ACORN GATHERING were donating all of their royalties from the book to the American Cancer Society. What better way to do my little part toward fighting cancer than by buying the book?! With the added advantage of getting more Simolke stories in the bargain. Not that I ended up in any hurry to read Simolke's contributions, or those of his altruistic fellow collaborators. I just couldn't get in the mood to subject myself to what I figured were probably depressing short stories with cancer themes. Big mistake on my part, and big mistake on anyone else's part. Because if THE ACORN GATHERING does include tales of people with cancer, it also contains ... Simolke's very funny 'Fat Diary' about an overweight librarian out to lose weight and find some lovin' ... Bill Wetzel's 'Nachos Are Green And Ducks Appear To Be Blue At Town Pump In Cut Back Montana' that is just as wonderfully entertaining as it sounds ... Jan Chandler's 'The Gun' that will have one and all pondering the pros and cons of gun control. All of those, and all of the rest, marvelous reading packaged to provide short story aficionados, like myself, not only with superb reading material but also with an excellent way to contribute to a genuinely great cause.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2002
The Acorn Gathering; Writers Uniting Against Cancer Duane Simolke Review by Len A true "Story Cycle", this anthology comes together in a unique and most interesting manner. The cohesive nature of "The Acorn Gathering" is amazing considering the different authors and that they had not necessarily read "The Acorn Stories" first. Editor and co-author Duane Simolke is justifiable pleased with the diverse yet universal feel and messages shared throughout the book. Although all proceeds do benefit cancer research, the book itself is not limited in subject. Stories of conflict, life, bravery, and community awareness all come together in an every day manner. You feel as though you now these characters. That you have been to places like these and the stories and tales are familiar, haunting and sometimes even painful. Do not mistake this as a piece about brave cancer patients and their experiences. Although a worthy subject, the authors have offered a more common tapestry. One of experiences with which most will strongly associate and or identify. Messages about things we meet in every day life. And as well the people, some good some not so good. The writing styles are complimentary to each other and as well the work overall. There is flow and continuity as well as strong growing interest. The themes and sometimes even characters relate and overlap. The tales and landscapes are believable and moving. An easy read, which draws its conclusion all too quickly, "The Acorn Gathering" has strong effect and bright colorful style. A unique piece of art, dedicated to a great cause, and brought together by pure talent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2002
Duane Simolke's follow-up anthology to The Acorn Stories, The Acorn Gathering, is a study in human trials, triumphs and the power of relationships to hurt or heal. The book is a gathering of moving short stories written by a group of talented writers who call themselves "Writers Uniting Against Cancer." All royalties go to the American Cancer Society. As expected, many of the stories deal with often tragic health issues: cancer, depression and other forms of mental illness, alcoholism, obesity, suicidal ideology, unwanted pregnancy. Some of the characters triumph over their conditions while others do not. In the midst of these life threatening issues that are handled in sensitive and inspiring ways, there are moments of laughter. Duane Simolke's "Fat Diary" is hilarious and could very well be expanded into a funny, uplifting novel. A simple love story by Bill Wetzel, "A Morning by the River" needs to be commended for reminding us of the pure joy of falling and being in love. And "The Gun" is well worth mentioning for its humorous, light treatment of a not so funny situation The Acorn Gathering is a good read. If you're looking for characters that fit the mold of traditional, you won't find them here. The book is like a warm, pleasing quilt made up of disparate, yet cohesive patches represented by characters of various ethnic backgrounds; among them, African and native Americans, Hispanic and Anglo Americans and with a few Texans sewn in.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.