A passionate December love affair.
The meeting of an unexpected traveler.
The consequences of protecting a young new acquaintance.
A journey into an unknown past.
In the stories of While I’m Still Myself, Jeremy Lane eloquently describes the life changing impact of the brief encounter, showing that life and love are not shaped by an entire lifetime, but by the fleeting moments with unexpected people in unexpected places.
I am not usually a great fan of short stories. I always want to know more about the characters and their stories however I really enjoyed reading these! This set of stories focuses on the moments that change a person’s life, whether or not they want them to. After these moments, none of these people will be the same again, some for the better, some not so, but always they are changed. Those pivotal moments do make for interesting reading, and with these stories I was content to leave it at that, or just to imagine for myself what might happen to the characters later on.
Partly, I think, this was because Lane uses some pretty big topics in his stories. The huge spectrum includes, drug abuse, racism, child abuse, mental illness, lost love and loss of innocence. These themes make for sobering and thought provoking reading. There was enough in each story to make you think about the subject and its impact on people, but not so much that you got bogged down in the sadness of what these people might be going through.
In many ways the tales examine change, the changing essence of who we are, of still being who we are in the face of adversity or difficult circumstances, the fact that we are all ever changing by our encounters with others, with our world and what it throws at us. Often the people in the stories do not want to change, but it is forced upon them by circumstances. We can all identify with that, even if our circumstances are not as traumatic as those of the characters.
The setting for all of the stories is Texas, a place I have never been, but I enjoyed the well painted descriptions of the landscapes and the different people who survive in some tough places. You could almost feel the heat and smell the dust, even on a wintery day in South East England!
Verdict: An interesting and challenging set of stories, they made me get quite philosophical, one for a thoughtful moment!
Reviewed by Helen