Five Oaks Press (2018)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (2/19)
“What Some Would Call Lies” by Rob Davidson is a fascinating collection of two novellas that delve into memory versus lies and how our lenses change to accommodate and mold our unconscious desires into creative, new “realities.”
I knew this would be fun as soon as I read the opening paragraph of the first story. In ‘Shoplifting, or How Dialectical Materialism Can Change Your Life,’ Monica Evans, a young author and mother is shopping in the boys’ toddler section of a discount department store. Discouraged by the stereotypical choices she heads over to the girls’ section, finally settling on a floral print dress for her young son because after all, “…if you must live your life as a cliché you could at least choose lavender.” (p. 11). Monica has issues that’s for sure – and that is the appeal of this novella. Readers experience the inner machinations of Monica’s mind as she eludes, deceives, denies, and challenges everything from the mundane existence of a “happy homemaker” to indulging in shoplifting adventures in the name of research (for the autobiography of her dead sister, which she is writing in first person). I’m not kidding, as soon as I finished this story, I wanted to read it again to go a little deeper and make sure I hadn’t missed any delightful nuggets of wit or hidden context.
The second novella, “Infidels,” sets a completely different mood as a classic coming of age story. As Jackie Rose reflects on growing up in Duluth, Minnesota during the 70s, readers are transported directly into his world. Jackie takes us through a strained relationship with his father, his unrealized feelings of a teacher who inspired thinking outside the norm, and the magical wonders of getting to second-base with a take-charge-kinda-girl in the sixth grade – just to name a few. His encounters will make you laugh, cry and everything in between as you sit there, incapable of doing anything other than reading straight through to the end. I loved this story. Many of the characters sparked nostalgia for days seemingly lifetimes ago and made me wonder about some of my own childhood memories. Are they real? Imagined? A bit of both? And, how many of our perceived truths do we pass on to our children? This story really gets you thinking!
Both stories in this collection are extraordinary works that are a pure treat to read. I highly recommend “What Some Would Call Lies” by Rob Davidson for a contemplative, eloquent reading experience certain to conjure up some of your own buried memories, real or imagined.