A Boy From The Chesapeake by Larry Roszkowiak

A Boy From The Chesapeake: A Collection of Short Stories by Larry Roszkowiak, 146 pages, February 13th 2017, 2nd Edition, Published by Betsy R. Johnson, Paris. Genre: Satire. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

by Leigh Holland

A Boy From The Chesapeake is a collection of thirty-five short stories. Each story is about one of the narrator’s “girls” and runs roughly chronologically. Told in a first person narrative style, the longest story runs eighteen pages. The shortest in the collection is about 3 lines on a page. All the stories share a common theme. The narrator is searching for his girl. Is she the one? Is she his true love? Maybe one of the girls we read about already fits that bill. Maybe more than one does. Maybe they all do.

Here are some of my favorite stories. First, I enjoyed “Chesapeake”, in which we learned that his first girl was his bay. Literally, the Chesapeake bay was his first love. Mysterious, comforting, always waiting for his return, the bay could draw him home anytime. Second, I liked “Holy Saturday”, a tale in which he witnesses the elaborate dating rituals of his older brother, learning from him how important girls truly were.

“True Love” was the sweet, sad, wistful tale of the woman he still calls “true love”. She introduced him to literature and inspired him to become a playwright. She changed him and gave him a great gift. My favorite was “Mrs. Crunch”, a story in which he has an affair with a married woman, how it affects her marriage, and what becomes of the relationship in the end. I loved the way he describes the sound of the gravel upon her car’s approach and how he calls himself “Pavlov’s concubine” for her.

The last story isn’t so much a story as it is a reflection on what has been prior. “Girls” reflects on the work itself. What was the author trying to discover about life, about himself, about his love of various women over the course of his life? What is it about “girls” that “boys” love? What is it that women have that men need so desperately from them?

I enjoyed reading A Boy From The Chesapeake. It was like looking into someone’s memories and their reflections on their life experiences. At times, the stories were funny. Other times, they were more thoughtful and serious. At all times, they were made more meaningful simply through knowing the stories reflected something real.

You can find this anthology at Amazon at A Boy From The Chesapeake.

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