My favorites (and it was hard to choose!): • “Creature”: This is the story of a 14-year-old girl whose parents are in a messy divorce. She takes a two-week job as a mother’s helper for two children ages four and two while they visit their grandmother in a posh Massachusetts mansion. All is well until the grandmother’s married son appears, and then some confusing things happen to Carol. (The ending is perfect!)
• “Five Tuesdays in Winter”: This is a love story taking place in a bookstore between Mitchell, a curmudgeonly, taciturn divorced man in his 40s and Kate, a younger woman in her 30s. Mitchell’s extraverted 12-year-old daughter, Paula, is a wonderful foil between Mitchell and Kate. It’s brilliant.
• “When in Dordogne”: Ed and Grant, two college students spend the summer with a young teenage boy while his somewhat emotionally-detached parents travel to Dordogne, France in the hopes of alleviating his father’s clinical depression. It’s an eye-opening adventure for the boy, including a first kiss with a special girl.
Some of the stories are just delightful to read, while others are emotionally searing. Relationships are complicated. Love isn’t always easy. A few of the stories are dark and one is somewhat violent, but they all offer a greater meaning and important life lessons. Each one is a gem written in prose that demands to be savored.