Pieces for the Left Hand


J. Robert Lennon's Pieces for the Left Hand offers the reader one hundred short stories that are inspired by several aspects of life: work, parenting, and small town living to name a few. Ranging in length from three to ten paragraphs, these anecdotes followed the same basic formula: a description of some event, an unexpected turn, and either a bittersweet or a humorous ending.

The first twenty-five or so stories were interesting. However, I can only stand so much of the same thing before I start to lose interest. Lennon's cuteness in creating twists and turns rapidly became predictable. By the time I reached story number fifty, I had a strong desire to just be done with the book. The content itself was not strong enough to rise above the twist & turn structure.

I am thinking much of my boredom with this book can be explained by the introduction. It contained an overview of the author's life, which is strangely similar to my future in about fifteen years. The 47-year-old author lived in a college town somewhere in New York State who, having worked full time helping to support both his family and his wife during her studies in graduate school, is now unemployed by choice, thanks to his wife's tenure at the college. He now spends his days getting up early, taking long walks, and doing the household duties. He may obtain employment in the future, but is not rushing things.

Being married to a current PhD student and future professor, this vision of the future grabbed me and gave me enough hope to shed a small tear of joy. I'm afraid this prophecy was too much of a distraction for me to overcome while reading this book. However, the stories themselves didn't help much with this either.

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