By: Dale Andrew White
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Publication Date: April 2009
Reviewed by: Miriam Leventhal
Review Date: June 2009
If you have the type of humor that appreciates the bizarre and offbeat, and count me in, then you will enjoy the Return of the Dittos by Dale Andrew White. White’s eccentric and quirky sense of humor is evidenced throughout the book, taking the reader through twists and turns, delights and mishaps in this collection of short stories.
White begins his collection with “An Unlikely Story,” a tale with a shifting narrative that keeps the reader guessing as to the place and circumstances of the plot. The conclusion of the story is creative and unconventional, leaving the reader pleasantly surprised. Other stories, such as “On Tour with Confederate Thunder” are simply hysterical. In this story a generic sixties rock musician delights and repels a Rolling Stone magazine-type reporter with the history of his band, all while in a drug induced haze. And just as you’ve seen in countless exploitive interviews, the reporter treks to this has-beens mother who, of course, foreshadowed her son’s demise years ago, summing up his life with this astute comment, “[He went] to Sodom and Gonorrhea, just like the Bible warns.” There are many funny lines in this mock send up of a washed up band, and White makes the tale thoroughly believable and funny.
“Principal Knuckell Meets the Press” brings back wistful memories of high school journalism class and the predicament of writing countless hackneyed stories of cheerleaders and cafeteria food while ignoring the more controversial aspects of school politics. When Adam decides to investigate who benefits most from the school budget, he lands in hot water with the administration. Despite the fact that his hopes of making the paper more relevant are dashed, Adam finds a way to outsmart the principal and keep the paper going. It is stories like this that go to the heart of the debate about free speech and school censorship, all the while White manages to relay the account with wit and panache. Some stories are equally ambitious, but deflate about half way through. “The Craving” is one such story that has an interesting premise, but suddenly goes awry and becomes more mocking than humorous. However, on the whole this is a well written book by a very talented author.
The stories vary in style, from satire to subtle humor to slapstick. Each story is compact and varied in subject matter and tone. White’s creative instinct and zany sense of humor are what make the stories so compelling. Reading Return of the Dittos is a satisfying way to spend the afternoon.
Quill says: An original book of satirical short stories from a talented author.
For more information on Return of the Dittos, please visit the author's website at: Dale Andrew White.com.