Received a copy of A Crack In The Wall By Betty Jane Hegerat through the First Reads Giveaway
The problem with short stories is that more often than not their are some that you will like more than others. This belief leads to unfair ratings and a less likely realization of a five star rating for the book. With A Crack In The Wall their are common themes linking one story to the next with the facts of life encompassing them all. The majority of the stories deal with some of the common issues facing the elderly from year to year and day to day. Predominantly stories associated with the elderly are quite depressing and/or extremely boring. Regression of skills, games memory can play, coping with loss are bitter realities that have to be confronted. Their are also uplifting tales involving older folks including:
1)A woman reclaiming her life rather than being trapped,
2)Helping a young parent realize the power of the loss/love
of a child,
3)Taking a risk in spite of a possible holdover in a jail
4)Lack of a loved one's support when it comes to arguments
5)The reappearance of a feline friend and the continuance of
6)One friend wanting to alter the status of their relationship
after a negative divorce,
7)The mismanagement of a woman's last will & testament, the
hilarity that ensues,and
8)The selling of the family home with a helping hand, because
like a good neighbour Philomena is there.
The stories that are not centered around the elderly involve:
1)A child trying to cope with school while having a learning
2)A chance encounter with a precocious friend from childhood,
3)Embracing adolescence while maintaining a hold on childhood,
4)The self-imposed confinement and the unconscious realities
of a kleptomaniac,
5)A childhood dream of being a part of a family becomes an
You could find issue with the fact that the author did not take a risk and embrace Canada's multiculturalism or social class distinctions. She did discuss the conflicts with Germany immigrants but the stories seemed a little too old fashioned, caucasian, "suburbia" to justify giving a five star rating. With that minor issue stated I liked all the stories in the anthology. My favourite character was Moira from the first story "A Practical Woman", her courage and determination was astounding. It's not that she is bedridden, she is on the cusp of retirement, empty-nester, divorcee so basically a youngster. It is her ability to stick to her guns and make a challenging decision for a chance at reigniting the fleeting passion in her life. The one page short story "Stitches" packed a heavy punch and left me fulfilled like I never imagined a one page story could.
I recommend this book to people that enjoy the stories that life can bring and the repercussions that come with them.