Nine to Ninety, Stories across the generations
Susan Ioannou, a well established and prolific writer, has in her book Nine to Ninety, Stories across the generations, presented her readers with a wonderful array of captivating narratives. The cover depicts a 1950's family or perhaps slightly earlier, sitting on the stoop of some house somewhere, a generation of family, nine to ninety. The image captures your interest and curiosity in opening to the first page. It is also in large print, so very easy reading.
Ioannou's medley of fifteen short stories commences with A Taste of Darkness, a Square of Light. You are introduced to a delightful little girl by the name of Lucy, her Grandpa Norm and the absolutely wonderful and eccentric "˜Miss Budges", two elderly sisters who own the "Cedars". I loved this story, it was so charming.
Jamie and the Giant-Lady tells a story of a young boy dealing with the aftermath of a very serious incident that affected him deeply and the coping mechanisms to help in his healing. I thought the author handled this story beautifully. The story, My Lunch with the Rich People, was witty, and once again you are introduced to wonderful characters that just come "alive" and make you smile.
I am only picking out a few of the stories but all of them are extremely well done. The author captures the personalities of her subjects brilliantly. And in many of these narratives you can see yourself, or your child, your mother, or your grandfather, whether the story is a flashback to the fifties, or the present moment.
I do have to mention its O.K. To Be Different. It is about two moms and two little girls, and the uniqueness of both Moms. The stark contrast of the mothers and their housekeeping methods and their manner of dress is handled with humor but the message is clear and done with tact.
The author does veer off slightly in the story Mrs. Minton Returns. Perhaps a little science fiction or fantasy or mystery? I leave you to figure it out for yourself. Memories, loss and the war are vividly brought home in Heimat. As you feel for the family in this story, you quickly bounce back with the delightful Ilse's Vacuum, about three ladies in a senior's complex.
Several of the stories by Ioannou were slightly reminiscent of the writing style of Lucy Maud Montgomery, while other stories reminded me of the British author Barbara Pym. Nine to Ninety, Stories across the generations has something for everyone. A very entertaining and delightful book with stories that will touch your heart.