My 5 Star Review:
A wonderful collection of short stories from the heartfelt to sci-fi – Far Out Mall, spanning various lives of people, old and young. Hudson has a wonderful style of writing that takes you in to the remotest detail and brings his characters alive. Below I’ve listed some of my favorites:
In the first story – Reaching the Pinnacle – Grandpa and granddaughter share a nature hike together and granddaughter shares her good news with him.
Lloyd and the Baby was one of my favs – when 55 year old confirmed bachelor Lloyd finds an abandoned baby in the home he rented out to a young couple and watches them steal out in the wee hours of the night, packing Lloyd’s furniture onto a moving struck, skipping the rent, he scurries over to the home to see what’s left. Lloyd finds they’ve abandoned their six month old baby crying, left in a box, leading to the adoption of the little tyke, renaming him Eugene.
Four Memory Boxes – After Lloyd’s passing, Eugene goes through Lloyd’s sacred four boxes of all his treasures and possesions in the world, and discovers some fishy paperwork about how Eugene was adopted, which doesn’t exactly match up with what Lloyd told Eugene about the truth of his abandonment when Lloyd took him in as his own.
Two Boys, One Wagon and a Secret – the curiosity of young boys and their favorite past times, looking for empty bottles for cash – until their curiosity gets them more than they bargained for when they get curious about smoking.
Food Bank – a humble man delivering his contribution for the Food Bank, taking in the scenery around – the poor, cold and hungry waiting for the bank to open – the man hands his scarf over to a young girl shivering, the scarf his son had given him. The spirit of kindness and compassion.
Funeral Food – one of my favorites, whereby a woman who can’t seem to survive on her pittance in government assistance gets crafty and begins following obituaries so she can attend funerals that offer food after the services. The author takes up a subject where far too many find themselves in this situation. Even in our city of Toronto, they’ve recently announced that 1 out of every 5 cannot afford food. This is an all too common problem in our world of greed, but thankfully, Hudson brings in some compassionate characters.
I also enjoyed the story about the Two Grumpy Old Men, a.k.a. TGOM, and the two follow up stories about these retired men who open up a cafe/restaurant as goodwill, not for profit and a peek into their lives.
This book is for anyone who enjoy stories about a slice of life with richly developed characters who bring Hudson’s stories to life.
February 10, 2021.
Former detective Jo Naylor is on the run and finds a whole lot of trouble in paradise when she saves a young girl from the clutches of a predator. She becomes a temporary guardian to the orphaned girl and a special bond between the two is easily formed. When another girl is taken her mother pleads to Jo for help- who can’t say no despite the limitations she faces. Jo enlists the help of a PI who like her isn’t a woman to be underestimated. Together they uncover a crime ring that runs deeper than either could anticipate and puts both of them in danger.
Jo’s take no prisoners attitude, relentless pursuit of justice, and fearless fight against the men she encounters is an action-packed adventure. The author’s snappy writing and spot-on pacing makes this mystery a perfect page-turner.
Lloyd and The Baby, Four Boxes of Memories, and Letting Go hit me straight through the heart. I was reminded of how love can change any human being no matter how set in their ways, the challenges of growing older and choices we must make, and being a young girl and suffering through the death of my grandma, uncle, aunt, and baba.
Two Boys, One Wagon and a Secret and Two Boys and Something Forbidden sent me reeling back in time to my own childhood. I grew up in a close knit neighborhood with plenty of kids. As girls we cherished all things Barbie, but I did have a pretty sweet, red wagon. And of course we had our moments of mischief and curiosity, too.
Two Grumpy Old Men Café, TGOM Café Finale, and CJ and the Real Estate Lady are fun stories of three retirees with hearts of gold. Hudson’s sense of humor shines in these tales and all I can say is: boys will be boys, even if they’re old boys! What I also enjoyed about these and a couple of unrelated stories titled, Food Bank and Funeral Food was the kindness the characters exhibited toward their communities and strong obligation to help those less fortunate. We can all make a difference even if it’s through our generosity of giving a month’s worth of spare change saved in a piggy bank. That’s a lot of giving over 12 months!
Far Out Mall, The Whip, and Wasps! are thought provoking, poignant reads.
A wonderful book both heartfelt and inspirational with a dose of things that make you go, hmmm…
January 26, 2021
January 3, 2021
Review of a Box of Memories by Australian Author, Mark Piper. 5 Stars.
It’s unusual for me these days to pick a book of short stories to read. I’m inclined to choose novels in a number of different genres. That’s been the focus of my own writing for the last few years. But Allan Hudson’s delightful collection of stories, A Box of Memories, reminded me of what I’ve been missing.
The characters all feel like real people, sometimes strange, sometimes quirky, but always memorable. Hudson takes you back to your childhood with the two stories featuring ten-year-old Beans and Chops. Okay, you have to be old enough to imagine youthful adventures before cell phones and the internet, but even if you’re not that old, the stories hold up beautifully. Hudson has a knack for putting the reader in the midst of a time and place that feel comfortable.
The stories in A Box of Memories feature characters of both genders, ages from pre-teen to octogenarian, times from the early settling of the West to well into the future not yet realized. Pretty much all of the characters are relatable to most of us, even if we’ve never been so poor we had to attend funeral receptions to be able to get a decent meal, even if we’ve never found an abandoned baby, even if we’ve never escaped slavery in the old south via the Underground Railroad. That’s because the characters are at once appealing and feel real for their time and place. That’s not such an easy thing to accomplish, but Hudson has the talent and the empathy to pull it off beautifully.
One of the advantages of a collection of short stories is that you have clear stopping points. There are no cliff hangers that force you on to the next chapter, even though it may be well past your bedtime. But I found myself reading right through these stories in a few days. I was anxious to see where Hudson’s imagination would take me next, and I wasn’t disappointed even once. A Box of Memories gets my highest recommendation.
December 20 2020.
Mr. Hudson weaves a wonderful tale of love and endurance and it is easy to become entwined with Dominic and those he meets along the way. I look forward in anticipation to the next chapter in the life of the Alexanders."
Another happy reader: