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Review: If I Had My Way by Lena Sledge
Monday February 6, 2012 at 12:37 am |

Publisher: Sony Brook Publishing
Copyright: 2011
Publish Date: January 24, 2012
Form: e-book provided by Author
Author: Lena Sledge
Buy the Book: B&N

If I Had My Way is a collection of ten short stories. Some are surprising and some are subtle. This splendid collection of short stories begins with Sunshine. A story of a young girl coming into her own as a young woman on her graduation day. Tandrin Drive is the tragic tale of a dysfunctional family of women trying to escape their dark past. Journey is a story with the theme of poetic justice at its core. A teenage boy who has been given more chances than he deserves but may find it’s too late to get the one last chance he desperately wants. The story Thirst, is a tale of romance and longing. It is humorous and romantic and will leave readers yearning for more. Match Maker is a story of a young friendship built on the foundation of courage and trust. Five Minutes is the story of Niceta, a young woman fighting for her freedom as she tries to escape the life she is trapped in with her two young children. If you ever had a feeling that someone was lying, then you will be able to relate to Poison Ivy, a story about a young girl who senses when something just isn’t right. The story Substitute is a compelling story about two brothers who both empathize with the plight of each other for different reasons. It’s heartfelt and shows the lengths that brothers will go to to keep a loved one happy. A love story, titled Love, is indicative of loving someone through good and bad times, ups and down. Unseen is the last story in the collection, about a two women, vying for the affection of one man’s attention and devotion. For the wife, it’s hard to compete when the woman she’s up against is her mother-in-law.

My Thoughts:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read an anthology of short stories, so I’m glad that I got to break that streak with If I Had My Way by Lena Sledge.  This collection of short stories was intriguing and compelling with distinct characters and a myriad of issues.

I have to say that the author had a very unique way of presenting stories and developing her characters.  Each character voice was very distinctive and I found it easy to determine if it was a male or female speaking just based on the character voice.  I found this refreshing because sometimes with first person stories I’m not sure until I’m explicitly told or clued in some other way.  So the fact that I could tell let’s me know how strong the characters were created and that their stories were important.

This anthology explores themes of parent abandonment, life-altering secrets, and abuse of all kinds.  The stories also touch on issues that still plague the black community today like complexion and hair texture.  I liked that the author worked such issues into the stories because they still fuel stereotypes and hatred today and creating awareness about such things could prove to help eventually eliminate them.

Though the stories dealt with many serious issues and problems, there were many light touches of humor sprinkled throughout the anthology.  This helped to break up the heaviness of some of the stories and made them even more enjoyable.  I have to say I took an exceptional liking to Journey, Thirst, and Match Maker.  Each story was charming and heart warming in their own way and I didn’t want them to end.

Overall I loved reading the collection of short stories in If I Had My Way.  The stories feature strong characters navigating their way through real life issues.  They so reflect reality that I think people will have no trouble identifying with one or more characters in these stories.  Definitely give this one a go.

Be sure to enter the Black History Month Giveaway HERE!  After entering here, go hop along to all the other participating blogs!  Also, come back tomorrow for a giveaway of If I Had My Way!

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Filed in: Anthology, Black Fiction, Fiction, Reviews Tags: , , , ,


Written by Jade

Jade is a book blogger from NC. In her spare time she loves to read and build and maintain websites. She has been reading since she was four and building websites since she was 16. SortofBeautiful.com was born on March 8, 2011 and is a fantastic merging of her two favorite hobbies. Enjoy your stay!

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15 Responses to “Review: If I Had My Way by Lena Sledge”

  1. Brie says:

    This book looks really good! Interesting and deep. I think that it’s good to read more real stories for a change, even if they are hard to read due to their nature, but regardless of that I think you always feel good at the end because they show you courageous people overcoming adversity.

    Great review! I’m reading this one for sure 🙂

  2. I don’t read a lot of short story anthologies. This one sounds really good. Thanks for posting your review!

  3. Missie says:

    When I read anthologies, it’s usually about short, paranormal stories and not really about RL issues. This one sounds like it offers an intriguing change of pace.

    Thanks for the review, Jade. I enjoy stories that challenge the way you think, and it seems this book does just that.

  4. You’re just like me, Jade — I don’t read very many anthologies either! But once I DID pick up one with a similar darker theme to it because it was a collection of short stories from authors that had been bullied before. So I would actually love to read this one too! I find that books about serious like these always make me really think more, which is always a great thing for a book to do! 😉

    Awesome review, Jade! Thank you so much for putting this collection of short stories on my radar! <3

  5. Sounds wonderful. I’m not big on short stories but I definitely make exceptions 🙂

    Great and helpful review Jade.

  6. I’m definitely intrigued. I love when you can tell that about main characters as well and I’m curious about her unique way of presenting stories and developing characters. Great review! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  7. Lena says:

    Thank you for the great review Jade. I’m beaming with pride and gratitude. I don’t choose the characters in my books, they choose me. They will intrude upon my thoughts and somehow I feel compelled to get their story out and on paper. The perspective comes from what I’m feeling at that moment. What kind of story do I want to tell for that character, some perspectives are from personal direct or indirect experience meshed with lots and lots of imagination.

    So happy to see that people are still interested in reading anthologies today. And I hope that anyone who gets a copy thoroughly enjoys it.

    Again, thank you very much.

    • Jade Jade says:

      I see you’re another author whose characters speak to them. Seems like these spoke very loudly. It’s cool to know that some of their stories can be related back to their creator. And you are most welcome!

  8. Molli says:

    Hmm now this sounds interesting! I don’t usually do short story collections but I liked the way you talked about this one. I love it when an author takes the time to craft their characters – it really DOES show. Thanks for the review, Jade – I otherwise might not have heard of this!