Forty Wild Crushes

by Christopher Verleger

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 1, 2016

'Forty Wild Crushes'
'Forty Wild Crushes'  

Jim Provenzano, author of the Lamba Literary Award-winning romance novel, "Message of Love," assembles sixteen new and previously published short stories in "Forty Wild Crushes," an enticing, poignant and highly engaging collection that presents men and relationships of all ages and from all walks of life, some of whom we can all relate to and others we would just as soon avoid.

The author starts things off on a lighter note with the titular entry, a terribly clever and particularly amusing recollection of fourth grade adventures, told in the first person and complete with footnotes containing a brief history of each identified "crush." Those eighties children who remember the song "88 Lines about 44 Women" will especially appreciate this one.

The more serious subject of divorce is tackled in "U-Haul," the touching portrait of a young suburban boy from an all-white neighborhood adjusting to life in the city, and a divorced dad prepares for a visit with his son in the tear-jerker, "Quality Time."

AIDS is touched upon in "Brush with Fame," an entertaining tale about an artist involuntarily reminded of his former relationship with a musician, and in "Funeral Rights," which reads almost like a journal entry of family history, as the narrator fondly remembers his Uncle Manny and cousin, Chris.

Select stories that are noticeably brief but still pack an emotional punch include the haunting "Split Lip," where a bashing victim recounts his attack, "Reps," a brilliant exploration of the health club cruising ritual, and "Un Coin de Table," a rousing retelling of a French sex club fantasy.

Because I'm a theater fan, I couldn't get enough of Brad from "A Toast to Rocky," who thinks back to his days at Kent State in 1979 and his infatuation with fellow performer, the scantily clad Todd (as "Rocky" in the cult classic), and then there's the audacious high school teen in "The Lair of Light" who spends more time in the lighting booth than he ever anticipated just to get close to his crush, Dick.

There's something for everyone among the compelling stories in "Forty Wild Crushes," featuring colorful characters, rich storylines and profound messages.

"Forty Wild Crushes"

by Jim Provenzano


Myrmidude Press

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.