This book contains about 5-6 short stories that are all centered around the book title. They all leave the reader hanging and wondering what happened next. Peculiar stories, but they were all well written.
I will begin by stating that this compilation has re-kindled my desire to embrace short stories. The author's ability to capture brief "moments in time"have a profound impact... These connections are both subtle and everlasting, leaving a lingering emotional effect. While each story was stand-alone and unique, the title theme cropped up and earned it's rightful place. The range in themes varied from love and love lost, racism and abuse, mental illness and death, birth and chance. The author holds great skill in setting a descriptive scene, evoking deep thoughts and sharing memorable, condensed prose.
I extend my 4/5 rating with the recommendation for all who love short stories and those who need a nudge in remembering the satisfaction of concentrated tales. I look forward to the future writings of Jeremy Mark Lane.
While I'm Still Myself is a good, quick read that has some lovely prose in it. I like how each short story focuses on a character meeting someone who changes their life in some way. It's a good topic to explore in the format of a short story and knowing that the story of these people won't last forever emphasizes the profound impact of this particular encounter. This collection deals with pretty much everything that is sweet and hard in life. Most of the stories deal with very sad things, but there are some hopeful notes.
Each story is linked through the theme of characters wanting to do something "while they're still themselves." For the first few stories, I thought this sentiment worked perfectly and the common theme made each of them have a greater impact. However, for many of the later stories, this theme seemed forced and didn't really fit into what was going on. I didn't understand why the characters felt they wouldn't be themselves later.
The character development is also not as thorough as I'd like it to be, even for short stories. However, for the most part, I enjoyed this collection. I liked the beginning stories much more than the ending ones, but like I said, that's only because the theme is successfully executed.
Short story lovers should take a look at While I'm Still Myself. I'm sure they will find at least a few stories that will resonate with them.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
3.5 stars. Review originally posted on Feb 21, 2012 (Hands and Home Blog): [...] I usually tend to shy away from reading short stories as I find there is simply not enough exploration of characters to really make me care about what I am reading. I like to get to know who I am reading about and these details help me to become invested in the story.
What surprised me when I began reading While I'm Still Myself is that the focus was on individual moments, as opposed to character development, and it worked well. It was a unique concept that I enjoyed for the most part even though it was out of my comfort zone. Lane beautifully describes those little moments that can change a person's life and each of the stories was quite well written. There was also a shock value to each of these stories that kept me moving though this collection quickly.
Being given such a small glimpse into a person's life can go one of two ways, it could become forgettable (as I found some of the stories to be) or it can be so sensational that it stays with you long after you read the last word on the page (and I can think of two stories that definitely fall into this category). I understood the concept of the importance of a single moment in time but some of these stories would have resonated with me more if I saw more of the characters in those moments. The closest that I came to this was in the first story That Winter, which was by far my favorite story of the book.
While I'm Still Myself is a collection of thought provoking and entertaining stories that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of short stories. Lane produced a collection of shocking stories that have the power to make you stop and think about what you have just read. Even though it was out of my comfort zone, in a format that I don't usually read, I still found this book to be an enjoyable read.
I received a review copy of While I'm Still Myself from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.