Good morning, Blog Buds! I first read tales from this short story anthology last year at http://www.critiquecircle.com exchanging critiques with Marva. I enjoyed them very much, so when I found out she'd published them I had to do a review!
Reading these stories make me feel like I'm sitting down for coffee with my grandpa, listening to him talk about his childhood. The language feels authentic for Texas, but not so that it's difficult to understand if English is not your first language.
The stories are set on a Texas farm in the early part of the 20th century. One of the things I loved most about it was the boy's relationship with his dad. The father in the story is a non-nonsense farmer, not well-educated, but he's a man of honor and it's obvious he loves his son even if he doesn't come out and say it. I've said it before, I love heroes who are great dads!
One of my favorite stores from this anthology is 'Out of the Chicken Coop.'
"When I was just a little kid no more'n seven if I remember rightly, I was down in the chicken yard tossin' grain like I was tol'."
Thus begins a funny tale in which the boy learns chickens aren't as stupid as most people think. A little red hen escapes and streaks for the kitchen with the boy in hot pursuit. Ma hates chickens near the house because they make a mess and that's putting it politely. Chicken poop is icky, stinky, and slimy! Anyway, the chicken gets into the kitchen and the boy chases her under the table, terrified his mother will find out. The tension and hilarity mounts when Spot the Dog charges into the fray! The boy and the dog wrestle each other trying to get that little chicken, knocking over the table and sqwuacking and barking. The chicken escapes outside with the dog chasing her and, of course, the poor boy is left to face his mother alone in a wrecked kitchen wherein she'd been making pies. Imagine a no-nonsense farmer's wife with hands on her hips and fury in her eyes!
These stories are a fun and fantastic read for any age. Childhood is universal, so kids will totally relate. It also provides a glimpse into Texan life in that time period. I'm sending a copy to my mother and I have no doubt she'll read it out loud to my grandmother. When she does, I hope she remembers to use her best Texas drawl. If your Texas drawl is a little rusty, you might want to watch an old cowboy movie first.
Pop on over to Marva's website for more information on how to order this short story anthology. You'll be glad you did. ;)
Be sure to check out Marva's other books while your there too!