Rosa (Zeke Thompson, American Hero, 2010, etc.) presents a series of short stories that address a wide variety of subject matter.
Rosa clearly writes from the heart, drafting prose with a passion and intensity indicative of an author who believes strongly in what she has to say. Her use of settings is powerful and rich, vividly bringing to life the varied locales of her stories. She covers an assortment of topics including child abuse, life after death, the power of God, teen death, family loyalty, war and, oddly enough, random cat antics and excrement-covered iPads. The overall theme of the collection is hard to discern, if there is one. Rosa’s narrative often includes not-so-subtle political, social or religious commentary, which creates a heavy-handed feel in places. Several of the tales (“The Promise,” “Sent”) are positive affirmations about life after death and how those we lose are always with us, and it’s a lovely reprieve to discover those two stories are written clearly enough to understand and enjoy them. Some of the vignettes, however, are a confusing maze of different points of views, inadequate back story and limited setup that make them a challenge to decipher. “Silent Hero” is a short but powerful look into the impact a teen’s death can have on the community, but the story scratches at the surface rather then plunging into the emotional intensity of the experience. One of the most interesting parts of the book is the concluding Acknowledgments section, in which the writing is finally straightforward and fluid, giving the reader insight into the back story and intended meanings of many of these stories.
Rosa’s collection has moments of insight, but readers may struggle through a fog to find the nuggets.