Anne Shier's book of short stories is a book about people. Inspired by life events, newspaper articles, and even websites, this collection puts humanity on display. Each story focuses on a different set of characters and generally centers around a single pressing issue. The author doesn't shy away from difficult topics but also makes sure the simpler everyday struggles are represented. The pages openly explore spousal abuse, infidelity, health problems, and many other hiccups in the way people interact with one another.
Shier's stories read more like essays with dialogue. Situations are handled neatly and sometimes naively, as many issues are resolved through characters communicating clearly and having productive inner dialogues. Not all stories will stay with you, and a few end abruptly, but there is a warmth and strength to Shier's writing that will make you root for the individuals in the stickier situations contained within this collection. Some stories are clear in their message (for instance, standing up for yourself is more important than social status), while others will leave you wondering what, exactly, the author's intent is (for instance, whether it's a good move for a woman to leave her happy family for another man). Throughout the book, though, one theme resonates loudly and clearly: the power of women. The stories seem to nudge women towards a more positive outlook on their lives and relationships. Shier's message to women is clear: Be yourself, do what makes you happy, and don't put up with abuse—of any kind.