4 Stars - Strongly recommended
This book was brought to my attention by Jason Pettus, owner of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography , for which I would like to thank him. And also a big thank you to it's author, Ben Tanzer, who has been a great sport - patiently waiting for me to read and review this collection of short stories.
Are you finding it strange that, being a self professed non-fan of short stories, I am reading short story collections back to back this week? I think it is time to re-evaluate my position on them, as Ben Tanzer stands up and demands to be noticed in Repetition Patterns.
I admit to being slightly underwhelmed as I read the first story, which happens to be the title story - just some guy unhappy with his therapist, whose unprofessional accusations cause him to start up with a new therapist. While reading Babysitter and What We Thought We Knew, as I was introduced to a town of neighboring kids and their promiscuous tendencies, and pedophile parents, I started to wonder what I had signed myself up for.
The third story, however, entitled Gift, demonstrates how wonderful sound can be, and how silence can remind us of what we are not hearing. It also forces you to realize how precious every moment is, and how we may tend to take them all for granted.
Among others, we meet a strange boy who becomes obsessed with a girl in his school, and rages against what he can't have; a teenager who spends months in a Pac Man daze only to be let down by the final level; and confused new parents who want nothing more than to get their infant son to just stop screaming.
Early on, I started to recognize patterns - the movies the characters watched, the names of places the characters saw or visited, the raw sexual undertones that ravaged their town and their lives. I also became aware of a natural evolution of maturity and security, and of accepting things for what they are, without resigning yourself to them. It's these patterns, these repetitive moments, that make Ben's book work.
I look forward to reading more from him. Check out this book, and also take a peek at his blog - This Blog Will Change Your Life.