• tomefries

The Amazing Mr. Morality: Stories by Jacob Appel

Updated: Feb 14


Summary: A collection of stories about choices and consequences. From a woodchuck that sends letters after being relocated from his yard to a neighborhood fight over a street name and on to a battle of ethics columnists.


{Free book alert! I received this copy for free to review. The following review is honest, completely my own, and not influenced in any way because neither the author nor publisher are standing behind me wearing ski masks - as if I wouldn't know who they were - poking a knife into my back as I type. That's totally not happening, I swear.}

Review: We all make choices in our lives to either do what we think is right or knowing that we're wrong, but hoping we don't get caught. These short stories brought out all the subtleties of consequences; those that we see coming and many we don't.


I really enjoyed each and every one of these stories and they got me thinking about life and actions (or inaction in some cases). The first story even reminded me a bit of my all-time favorite short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, but with a twist (the only downside is that I'm one of the few people who knows the difference between a pedophile and child molester. Most child molesters are NOT - I repeat ARE NOT - pedophiles; it's not about sexual attraction, it's about power and control. There are many pedophiles who have never and would never assault a child. Also, 1/3 of child molesters are themselves juveniles! End rant). The other stories were also remarkably unique and insightful. If I were forced, I'm not sure I would be able to pick a favorite.


The characters were different throughout the stories; it wasn't the same type of personality over and over again. Appel spread his reach to write from many perspectives, however, they all suffered from the same dilemma of being fallibly human.


Appel can't be given any points for name originality, though, as he reused many of them throughout his stories. (I imagine him with two dogs named Barkley and Barkley II.) Although, it did give the stories a sense of connection, so I actually liked it. (Hmm, now that I think of it, maybe this was done intentionally.)


There were a few grammatical or editorial mistakes, but my brain was able to scoot around them and it didn't take away from the story.


Overall, I really enjoyed everything these stories had to offer. They made me think, which is a gift many books, unfortunately, fail to give anymore.

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