I was hoping for some heartfelt moments within these stories, some ahh moments that would leave smiling as these stories capture the relationship between sons and their fathers/grandfathers. After reading all seven short stories, about half of them were what I expected and the other half were something totally different. There is something about Avi stories that I love and this has always been the case since I started reading them to my son. My son is in college now but I remember reading Avi’s stories to him at night and on family vacations. I don’t know who liked him better I still feel vigorous when I hold one of his novels in my hands, as his words zip me off into another world.
I was surprised at the variety of stories contained within this novel. They all centered upon sons and their fathers and/or grandfathers but the storylines were all very different. These are not deep stories but stories that make you think. I really enjoyed three of the stories.
- My favorite was Tighy Whites or Boxer In this story, a mother has found a new husband and she wants to make sure that her son Ryan will be fine with the new arrangement. Ryan decides that this new person should have to go through an interview process to get the job as his new father. This is a delightful story as Ryan has the gentleman do a complete interview with references, resume and a one-on-one interview with pages of specific questions. Will he be hired or will his mother need to find another boyfriend?
- In Going Home, I enjoyed this story as it dealt with a boy who felt that his life would have better had he been given a choice when his parents got divorced. Residing with his mother, he wants to go live with his father and he fights his mother on this issue. He decides to make his own decision and live with his father. Acting on his decision, he realizes that perhaps the choice that was made for him was the best. The emotions that were inside this story were superb and the energy coming off the characters were outstanding. As he saw his life, I was heartbroken for him and I wondered what he was going to do next. This was a great story.
- Dream Catcher was a story about a grandson who spent a week with a grandfather who he didn’t know. Paul knew that his father didn’t like the man so why did he have to spend the week with him? I really enjoyed this story. Paul is out of his element and without noise, he is listening. I liked how Roads was in his element with Paul and he was able to open up with him. At the end of the week, they are both different individuals.
- Beat Up was a great story and I really saw wonderful things happening with it but the ending was not as I expected. The father and son saw differently on why the son did not fight back after being beat up by a gang of boys. They choose then to just not deal with the issue until the day dad asked others in the community for help. Why is it so hard to communicate? I could see why Avi choose the ending he did for it but it ended too abruptly for me.
- In Departed, this was a sad story with a supernatural element to it. Father and son were planning a camping a trip but an accident stops the trip from happening. I could tell where the story was headed immediately and the ending brought closure to the characters. It was not a frightening tale but showed a loving, tender relationship. Ok story
- The story Kitchen Table was okay as it showed determination and dedication as Billy tries to find his bike. I didn’t care for the ending and I didn’t understand how it related to the title of the story either.
- In The Amalfi Duo,I laughed while reading this one. The grandfather and his facts were humorous to me. Grandfather was like a walking encyclopedia and he would tell his grandson bits and pieces of information as they talked. It bothered his grandson that grandfather would tell him all this information when he really didn’t care. Grandfather would brag about how smart he was and I thought this was strange. When the two of them decide to take instrument lessons together, it becomes a competition. It was supposed to be a duo but it’s not working out that way.