By: Phloyd Knucklez
Publisher: Philip Gaber
Publication Date: September 2016
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 17, 2016
There are so many “golden” lessons earlier generations handed down to us: A bird in the hand...Make the best out of a bad situation...and the list goes on. In this collection of poems, short stories and ponderous prose, readers see the world through the eyes of humans who have chosen to believe that those past lessons are nothing but myths.
The reader gets on board with mainly male narrators expelling their tales. The speakers represent a large number of people across the globe: working at a job that is not what they wanted to “be when they grew up,” bored, harboring anger, and speaking frequently about disappointment. Perhaps this sounds depressing right off the bat, but the writer makes sure that the upside of the downsides that come from being that “categorical human” is shown right off the bat. If you’re normal and not a “star,” so to speak, you’ll never have to be bothered by others who want something from you. If you’re never a leader in any respect, than people will never want to waste their time finding a way to bring you down.
“Keeping My Vigil” is a tale of a man being tempted and then falling for temptation (much like falling for an apple given by a serpent in a garden.) This man is now condemned to live an ordinary, human life. “Escaping from Adolescence” shows a man out of work and how he must deal with a collection agent on the phone. You know, those guys who call to harass you night after night even when they know you have no money in the coffers. In these stories, as well as many others, readers will identify with how demoralizing life’s moments can be and how they can be made to feel bad by strangers who simply don’t care about their particular predicament.
Yet...the most difficult part of these stories comes from those missing “golden” statements handed down. You learn those. You believe in them. In fact, some of those words are what get you through the toughest of times. They also make you understand that being a normal, ordinary human – if you’re doing something you have a passion for, or are part of a bigger picture, like a family you love with all your heart – is not a negative at all.
Life is filled with humiliations. It’s filled with monsters, bigots, and others in the crowd who gain more than the hardworking, ordinary folk. However, if you go through life believing if you need help it will never be offered, than chances are it won’t be. Everything is stated clearly and concisely, which is a huge positive in this world of cover-ups and empty smiles. From losing yourself in alcohol, drugs, or simply in the inane banter all around you, the annoyances of life are told in a way that all of us can easily understand. But the after-effects of this compilation won’t bring the depressed out of a stupor. In the end, the stupor will only grow deeper.
Quill says: Life is a combination of good and evil, drama and comedy. Yet this collection leans heavily towards the darker side of the aisle.