THE AUTHOR: William J. Torgerson
This is the second book by William Torgerson I have reviewed. The first was “Love on the Big Screen.” Torgerson writes beautifully and his stories are so realistic that I find him nothing less than brilliant.
This particular book is a novel-of-stories. Each story is a chapter in the book about the town of Horseshoe, Indiana. The chapters tell what is going on in Horseshoe in the lives of both adults and teenagers.
Torgerson definitely has a sense of humor. For instance, in one of the stories in “Love on the Big Screen” is the movie showing at the local theater. You of course wouldn’t “get” this unless you had read his first book or someone had shared its title with you, but it definitely calls for a giggle.
Thirteen different stories make up the novel, and each is amazing in its own way. “Suicide Hill” as the first chapter takes you to the funeral of Bob Evans on a rainy day. You might guess the problems involved in trying to bring reverence to Mr. Evans’ burial when his final resting place is at the bottom of a hill, and his pallbearers are slipping and sliding in the mud. You’ll find out how Bob Evans made funeral plans for himself ahead of time, and how the pallbearers are able to deal with them.
I initially thought I’d pick out several of my favorite stories to tell you about, but I find that I’m having a hard time deciding among them. They are each uniquely wonderful. But I especially enjoyed “Chemical Romance,” in which teenager Allison York and Sheng Li, a visiting student, meet for the first time and become friends. Then there is “The Bloody Bucket,” wherein Pete and Jenna, who are husband and wife and run a bar together, literally fight it out.
But my favorite story is about an elderly woman who begins to hear someone knocking on her window during the night. She is very frightened and often calls the local police, who truthfully can’t find a lead and aren’t even sure if she isn’t just imagining things. The twists and turns of this story take place in several of the chapters, and set you up to be surprised how the whole thing turns out.
There are also teenage boys turning 18, camping out in their family’s woods, and playing paint ball to celebrate a birthday. When someone brings a case of cheap beer and some tobacco products, the results are hilarious yet chilling.
Horseshoe, Indiana, comes to represent most small towns because William Torgerson digs deeply into the lives of the people and just “tells it like it is.” His characters are well developed in each story, along with the landscape, and you find yourself inevitably hoping that things turn out for the best, at least for “most” of the people of Horseshoe.
I thought writing a novel of stories was a fantastic idea. It was something that was new to me, and I was impressed with how much I enjoyed reading each story and learning about the people and the town. These stories could easily take place in Carrollton, Georgia, so I could obviously relate to them.
This wonderful book of stories will show you what a knack Torgerson has for storytelling. He will make you laugh, scare you to death, and make you glad that you are safe and sound in your own home. This novel-of-stories would make the perfect book to carry to bed with you each night. A chapter a night and you’d be done in under two weeks’ time. More likely you’ll read two chapters a night because you won’t want to stop.
This book easily gets “4.5 tiaras.” Torgerson’s rich dialogue alone will keep you burning the midnight oil. Enjoy experiencing Horseshoe, Indiana, meeting real people just like yourself, and appreciating how fun and wonderful it is to live in small-town America.
Giveaways: A “Horseshoe” book to the first three people who give me feedback on anitabook.com.
Buice, a Carrollton resident, writes a weekly book review for the Times-Georgian.