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Posted April 7, 2013
It's always nice when a book, or in this case, novella, takes a different approach to the normal format and provides an interesting hook for the reader. Georgia Beers accomplished this in her collection Slices of Life.
The collection provides a glimpse into the lives of eleven different characters. Each of them deals with a situation that isn't unique, but can be instructive. There is the secretary involved with the cheating boss, a UPS delivery woman who fails to see her own attractiveness to others and a woman who realizes through her most important friendship that she needs to redefine her life. As the chapters progress through the teacher, the barista, the landscape architect and others, the reader is allowed into the lives of every-day people, where nothing extraordinary happens, but something significant does.
Each one is a "slice" of that character's life, as if the reader dropped in for just a moment to witness what is happening. The stories seem to tell more because each one features the character for the next chapter, so the reader is progressing through each link in a chain. Eventually the novella comes full circle when the final chapter deals with the partner of the cheater from the first vignette.
The beauty of this volume is that it leaves the reader wanting more. Any one of the stories could be turned into a full length novel and it's quite possible that the reader will want that. The resolution to each situation is indicated but not spelled out, so you can almost imagine the reader saying, "But what happened next?"
It's good to give the work of new writers a chance, but it's also helpful to know which authors can be depended on to deliver a good story. Beers goes in that list.