By: Jackie Rod

In a world which seems to increasingly be full of strife and stark polarization, it can be very comforting to come across something which manages to pull everything back together.  Even if it is only for a brief moment in time.  An item which lets us forget about our differences for a short while and focus instead upon the many similarities which exist amongst people in general.  A brief study and exploration of the human condition as it may.  In the anthology Georgia Stories on my Mind, we are treated to such an escape courtesy of author Jackie Rod.  A great collection of short stories which will give readers a brief respite from their own reality!

Georgia Stories on my Mind is a collection of tales which are woven neatly together into one book.  There are 7 stories which all take place in Georgia and focus upon the various stages of the human condition.  Joy, love, loss and grief are some of what the reader can expect to find in these heartwarming stories.  My personal favorite was “Abandoned.”  In the course of a relatively short story it managed to ignite a series of conflicting emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger and joy.  In fact, all of the stories are emotionally charged and that is what makes them so powerful.  Add to that, they take place in the charming Georgia setting and we definitely have a winner.  

The author also does a good job of presenting the characters in the various tales.  I typically have a difficult time connecting to characters presented in short stories as I find they are often one dimensional.  The players in these particular stories however are dynamic and well-developed.  There is also a cast of strong female protagonists which I always enjoy seeing.  Further, the story “Christmas with Buddy” even presents a dog as the main protagonist and the story is written from his point of view.  That is the type of creativity which will ensure that the characters are so memorable for the readers.

At the end of her anthology author Jackie Rod includes a few unique sections.  One outlines a number of interesting and intriguing facts about Georgia while the other analyzes the various changes in the teaching profession throughout history.  I found the former to be a really nice touch to the book and chosen setting.  As for the latter, I am not entirely sure how it relates to the book other than on the author’s personal level being a former teacher.  As an educator for over 25 years myself I get that, but do struggle somewhat with the relevancy.  

Overall I quite enjoyed this anthology of short stories.  They are well written and pack an emotional punch.  The storylines are relevant and engaging and the characters dynamic and memorable.

4 out of 5 Georgian Stars for this one! ****