Slice of Life
Written By: Dallas Woodburn
Published By: IUniverse
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
It wasn’t long ago when I wrote about a young writer by the name of Dallas Woodburn—but at that time, I wrote about her humanitarian efforts with her foundation, Write On!, a program that centered around child literacy and encouraged young writers to pursue their dreams. But that wasn’t how I first came into contact with Ms. Woodburn. I first came into contact with her writing. I admired her because she had done so much at such a young age, but when I read her collection of short stories, entitled 3 A.M., I soon learned that humanitarianism is not the only thing that Woodburn needed to be commended for.
3 A.M. contains a series of slice-of-life style tales, starting with The 74 Year Old Rookie, a story about a man named Max, who has regrets about a time in his childhood, when a mistake in a baseball game cost him his friends. When Max makes a stunning catch while walking by the baseball field, the neighborhood kids beg him to play on their team and 74 Year Old Max is faced with a choice. Should he play the game one last time or walk away so he doesn’t risk messing up again? The next story, Lost and Found is about a girl named Lily who is strong and intelligent, but extremely quiet, and an avid book lover. After being used and abused by those she thought were friends, something inside of her snaps and she finds she no longer wants to talk. This story is about Lily’s journey to rediscover her voice.
The third story, The Hitchhiker, looks like a horror story when reading the first page, but as the story develops, we understand the non-horror reason for our main characters in-car fright—a large spider has stowed away on the trip. A writer looking for a muse, Jess takes her spider along for the ride and learns a surprising amount from the experience. The fourth story, Just Friends, is a short but fun ride through the disconnected and pained thoughts of a girl who is in love with her best friend—a best friend that is leaving her to go to college. The fifth story, and my personal favorite is How I Became A Coffee Addict, the story of a girl named Joann and how her obsession for coffee guy Zach, leads to an obsession for coffee. This story is followed by Red, the story of Grace, a girl coping with the death of her mother as she grows. Through rituals of the past, Grace finds her own way to keep her mother alive.
The seventh story, Wishing On Upside Down Stars, tells the story of Derek and Regina, two young baseball fans that are brought together by rooting for opposite teams. This story’s lesson is that you make your own fate. The final story of this book, A Real Beauty, appears to be a true story about the writers relationship with her Grandfather. Beautifully told, Woodburn hammers home the fact that sometimes, anything you say is the right thing to say.
Filled with stories about things everyone has been through, there isn’t a person in the world that cannot relate to at least one of the tales found in 3 A.M. And even if you haven’t been there, Woodburn always weaves such an exquisitely truthful tale that you’ll feel like you were. Woodburn’s personality and unique way of looking at life shines through in every page, making this collection of stories a must read for anyone with a love for the human spirit.
Related Links: Dallas Woodburn Writes on