Friday, June 6, 2014

Love Will make You Drink & Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night

Love Will make You Drink & Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night by Shelly Lowenopf
White Whisker Books: 2/26/2014
Trade Paperback, 186 pages
ISBN 13: 978-0983632986

Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night brings a number of Shelly Lowenkopf's previously published short stories together in a single volume. Lowenkopf is best known as a master instructor of fiction writing and a book editor. He taught for over thirty years at the University of Southern California, and now at the noted College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. All the while, he's been publishing these short gems. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they've burned out in San Francisco and L.A. But there's no safe haven anywhere. Interwoven into Santa Barbara's picturesque setting, the people in these twelve stories reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another. "Shelly Lowenkopf is a gifted, humane story-teller," says author Aram Saroyan (Rancho Mirage). "'Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night' is a delight."

My Thoughts:

Love Will make You Drink & Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night by Shelly Lowenopf is a highly recommended collection of 12 short stories. All the stories are set in Santa Barbara, California, and can best be described as dealing with a variety of relationships, how emotions are expressed, and the forms that love can take in various stages and types of relationships. All of the stories have an urbane, cosmopolitan flair to them.

The title has to be based on the Billie Holiday blues song many people have heard: "Fine and Mellow." That alone could add a star in a review just because, for me at least, this knowledge help set the tone for the whole book.
"Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you do things that you know is wrong"
YouTube video

While I enjoyed several stories immensely, there were others that, while they weren't bad by any means, were more so-so for me. I think fans of the art of the short story will appreciate this collection more than most casual readers because they are going to recognize Lowenkopf's talent and the skillful writing ability behind these stories.

I've Got Those King City Blues - Charlene is looking for a relationship.
The Ability - a woman is hired by a college to write thank you letters. I adored this story and will forever think of The Binky Letter.
Mr. Right - a couple is looking for some special help
Absent Friends -  a man has a cat and relationship issues. Well written and heartbreaking.
The Man Within - seniors looking for love
Molly - a man wants to own his friend's dog. I really liked this story
Witness Relocation Program -  man, his friends, and a dog
Death Watches - a man trying to make amends or at least come to terms with his past.
Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, stay Out Late at Night - much like the song, love can make you change your behavior
Messages - two people in a relationship
Between the Acts - an actor finds a new part
Coming to Terms - a man starts a new relationship

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book for review purposes.  


"From the moment of Chuck's invitation to tea, Rachel has suspected him of an agenda in which every step has been calculated. She is waiting him out but giving nothing in the process. Even though the tea is frothy and refreshing, the pastry's stuffing is delicious, she has not acknowledged this to him nor has she responded to his praise about what she has come to think of as The Binky Letter." "The Ability" pg. 17

Late one spring night, during a satisfying buffet and agreeable conversation at one of Reeva and Jerry Zachary's gatherings, Lessing understood with an ardent certainty that he intended to steal their dog, Molly, and somehow contrive to rear her as his own. "Molly" pg. 69

Milan can't figure out what these guys have in common except they seem to hang out for morning coffee. "Witness relocation" pg. 80

"What more could an actor want? Bender had been living in a 1986 Volvo 740 station wagon for nearly a month before the police found him." "Between the Acts" pg. 143

1 comment:

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed 'Love Will Make You..'