Stray Our Pieces
Waldorf Publishing (2019)
Reviewed by Mark Sneed for Reader Views (11/2020)
304 pages of a wise cracking, mocking and self-pitying suburban woman who has allowed the world to pass her by narrates “Stray Our Pieces” by Jason Graff. The narrator is a horrible mother, by her own measurements, she can be unfeeling and callous. The book is a slow-motion train wreck and a descent into the psyche of a woman who feels she is a victim of life’s undoings.
The story revolves around Gloria Hynter and her anguish from allowing her life to spiral out of her control. She revels in her fantasies of what she could have been had she been given the opportunity. It is a sad and painful read. It is sad because Gloria Hynter has a son David, and a husband Daniel. It is painful because Gloria seems unable or incapable of dredging up an iota of genuine emotion or compassion for David and his grade school pre-pubescence. There are moments in the book when Gloria pretends. Those moments are as funny as they are fantastic and unexpected. Her husband finds himself in a loveless relationship and does not fare any better than David. The entire Hynter family are struggling, but put on a good front, thanks to Gloria.
The story is interesting and though I do not think that Jason Graff was trying to make Gloria Hynter likeable, she is not a monster. She just seems out of her depths emotionally. She attempts to do the right things, but they never seem to work out.
The writing is surprisingly good for the work. The story is extremely dreary. The book, thankfully, is not all doom and gloom. Gloria has her moments and eventually things seem to fall her way. “Stray Our Pieces” by Jason Graff is no fairytale story and has no Hollywood ending. It is more a snapshot of a suburban life of struggle.