The Priestess of Secrets: Deborah L. Fruchey
Within the pages of this book you will hear the voices of people who have either given up on life, abandoned those that there were supposed to care for, remembered how they would have loved life to be and realize that within this world there are many who cannot cope with the life. The first story gives the reader an inside view of what the narrator claims happens when people die and the fact that we are worth more, remembered in a positive light and mourned even though many would feel that they or the person that died was really worthless and not worth their spent tears. Each story is short with a limited amount of characters and each one focusing on the misery, tragedy or unhappiness of the person telling the story. Each story begins with a conflict told outwardly by the main character of some torment that is lingering within this character creating that conflict. The images evoked, the emotional tragedies described within each character’s mind and the pictures painted with words helps the readers see as it does in one story where the main character’s mind wanders to becoming an English Professor, or even trying something else but it’s too hard and she winds up in a place where people do everything for her and she just dreams, sits, smiles and contemplates what could have been but did not because it was too hard. Each story evokes an emotional reaction from the primary character and the reader as the ending in some cases might be the beginning this story was titled Secret Lives. In the story titled Abandoned where Cassie comes across an abandoned car and decides whether she will leave her life, her disabled son and the husband that abuses and as she thinks about others feels Earl is not so bad and why would she resent him and decide to leave. She has to decide if like the car she can abandon them and start over again as a single woman with no ties. Each story has it own unsolved mystery or ending and the reader wonders what if the author had written something other than a flash fiction story might have happened to change the outcome of each of these stories.
Sometimes there are people who cannot face realities and sometimes we wish we were in a world that we could create and live in as the story Housey brings to light. A home devoid of clutter, noise, space to walk around and just listen to the quiet noises instead of a house filled with useless objects, bills, unnecessary extras waiting to be carted off like she is waiting to be. Sometimes the material things do not matter as having hope, love and just being apart of something that makes you feel needed is far more important than things.
Unintended company will remind anyone that goes to a bar picks up a guy or girl and then spends the night but in the morning sees the person and things in a different light. So, what happens when you want to rid yourself of the person, have to be kind and polite because his car was towed away, he had no money to get anywhere and all she wanted was to rid herself of him. Are people disposable? Do they really matter? The man has a family, has a life and she does not like the woman she is going home to. When did we become so cold and not caring?
The title story the Priestess of Secrets allows readers to know a young girl who feels that her world is controlled by others who are allowed to abuse her, bully her and make fun of her and the worst offender is her father. As you read the story you begin to wonder why she did not fight back. Growing up she had no secrets. Her own thoughts she expresses were easy to read and were punished accordingly. But, in the end she hopes that she will have her own way of being cunning, find something sticky and find a priestess of her own.
Mishimoto was my favorite story as it compares two places that exist or don’t exist and the people who live there or don’t. San Francisco is a place where anyone can live where any kind of person is welcome and can live. People of any race or persuasion are accepted but in Mishimoto it is different. Everyone has to be the same, girls have to adhere to the rules set by whoever set them. The author describes the girls, the men, women and their various personalities as girls have to wear blue eye shadow by the time they are 12. Otherwise maybe something is wrong. San Francisco has an underworld and so does Mishimoto but it is different. Read the descriptions of how the men act towards others, their callus attitude towards women, and how women work in a world that might exist or not. Men who make money for a brief time but in the end someone decides for how long. What would happen if you lived somewhere but you did not? After reading this story decide if you would want to live in either place or not!
Finally, the GUN: Guys watch out when you criticize, don’t appreciate someone that cooks, cleans, breaks her back to try and please you on a sweltering hot day and all you can say after she tries her best is What’s on the menu? His answer well she decided what was on the menu was not exactly what he expected. You decide if her response was justified or not!
The final story is State your Occupation about a man who has great potential to write novels but for some reason cannot create that final ending to anything. At 58 he calls himself a novelist but looking in the mirror he never really sees the person or reflection looking back. Perhaps if he took a closer look he might finally find an ending that would satisfy himself.
The author shares her poetry and the first chapter of her novel a Scandalous Creature.
Each poem is dark and has its own individual message and theme. I loved Advice from Eden the message is loud and clear and really hits home on many levels.
Together this collection created by author Deborah L. Fruchey is fresh fiction at its best and the stories will make you the reader think about your own life, your own shortcomings, the shortcomings of others and maybe allow you to turn it around in a positive way as you hear the voices of the characters in these stories crying for help in different ways.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine