The Acorn Stories, an e-book written and copyright by Duane Simolke. (If the title or content of this book seem vaguely familiar to the prospective reader, the book reportedly was first published as an e-book by White Knight Publishing in 1998, in paperback by iUniverse in 1999 with a second edition in paper and hardcover and “This Kindle version with only minor revisions” was published in 2007.)
The book presents the reader with a parade of vignette-like tales from the lives of dwellers in and near the fictional town of Acorn, Texas, USA, POP: 21,000. These slices depict the lives of this West Texas town’s ‘owning’ families, and some ‘other’ individuals all set forth in 15 chapters, with the last somewhat melting the divergent characters into a somewhat dysfunctional/functional whole. The dialogue is credible, as are the characters as the action swings from an opening about two who never can reach a level of compatibility, another as he ruminates about his parental problems while swimming laps in a pool, and then goes on to describe the problems faced by a deaf, gay teacher for special children who now is teaching English in this small ‘backwoods’ town, a couple of black citizens, an advanced Alzheimer sufferer, a despicable mayor, his wife, a young woman with prominent Attention Deficit Disorder, and more.
Discussion: The author has provided a group of characters to populate this little western town who either are native born and wishing to escape or are persons wishing to escape from the world. Some are pathetic, some humorous, some irritating, some are easier to equate with than others, and all are somewhat unusual as their often self-generated problems and actions are set forth. The author demonstrates a healthy understanding of human nature.
4* Empathetic presentation of an unusual group of small-town residents.