Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scarlett's Review of "I Was in Love With a Short Man Once"

I Was in Love With a Short Man Once

Book Description (per Amazon)
Have you ever wondered if the life of the woman standing next to you in the check-out line is as weird as yours? Could it be possible that you are trapped in a bizarre reality show, where the object of the game is to get the crazy lady to flip-out; just one more time? If so, then this book confirms that you are in good company. I Was in Love With a Short Man Once is a story collection written from the perspective of a crazy, southern, Irish, gal. Follow her as she reflects on: growing up as a child of limited means in South Florida; managing a self-financed college education; balancing work as a federal official with the joys of single motherhood; and navigating the amusing challenges of being a second-time-around wife.
Coming Up Stories reflect the distinctive surroundings of South Florida through stories such as "Flagpole".
Jimmy Stories illustrate the bond between mother and son. Stories here include "Koolaid Mom" and "Zamboni" and reveal the life lessons that our children teach us.
The Rest of the Stories round out the author's quirky observations, including "Naked in a Hot Tub in Vegas" and "Crazy Virgo Tendencies".

Product Details (per Amazon)
  • File Size: 297 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1770678875
  • Publisher: FriesenPress; 1 edition (November 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006E937AG

My Review
Let me begin by saying that any book resembling a memoir usually sends me running, screaming, from the room.  Yes, there are great memoirs out there.  I’m just not a big fan of the genre. The default setting of memoirs typically is sappy, self-absorbed romanticizing about personal minutia that, truly, you had to have been there to appreciate.  I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by “I Was in love With a Short Man Once”.  Kimberly Dalferes’ delightful collection of stories from her experiences pulled me in, bringing memories to mind I hadn’t recalled in years.  This southern Irish gal has the gift for storytelling, even the Introduction made me smile.  The concept of yearning to be a ‘broad’ had me laughing out loud.  I totally get it. Truth be told, I ‘get’ Kimberly Dalferes.   We are of ‘an age’.  Meaning, we both lived through the weirdness of the 70’s.

Dalferes takes the reader along when she looks back at the 70’s, and other periods of her life. Her stories about struggling for acceptance in Junior High reminded me of the painful shyness that made that time in my life so stressful, and later, how I became the only pantomiming cheerleader at our school: too shy to yell but needing so much to be part of the group that I faked it.  Her mention of Wrangler jeans back then being a banner signifying one’s economic status really hit home.  I had a pair (or three) of Wrangler jeans I wore when I tried to cross the tracks to fit in.  It didn’t work. I might as well have had ‘dork’ branded on my head. The ‘mean girl’ who plagued Kimberly throughout Junior High brought to mind many from that time period in my life.  The vulnerability she expressed in her recollections moved me.  As did her poignant recounting of the loss of her beloved Grumps.  

In sharing her experiences, Dalferes balances somber reflection with just the right dose of humor.  Her stories about high school made me remember those awful bell-bottom pants that tangled under the heels of my platform shoes.  The tales she told of later years were the sort that many of us have experienced.  I’m not going to give anything away but, I will say, my favorites involved Eric’s reaction, static cling, the drunken girls stumbling on the train, and the story of the birth of her son.  (Having undergone three —yes, three!—inductions before the delivery of my last child, I can relate to being the insular pregnant lady, 9 months into her ordeal, who would just as soon poke your eye out as look at you if you asked that horrid question, “When are you due?”)   And, I must mention the bat story! I cringed, shivered…almost yakked, then cracked up at the thought of giving a bat (a frigging BAT) mouth-to-mouth.  And, that’s just a sampling of some of her stories, folks! There is so much to be enjoyed and appreciated in this book.  I highly recommend it.  This little gem earned a well deserved 5 hearts!

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Disclosure:  I requested this book of the author and received it as a gift.  My review reflects my honest opinion of the work.

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