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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Body Language: Short Stories by Marylee MacDonald is a collection of satisfying short stories, each leaving the reader feeling as though they have just consumed a well-baked cookie. The stories are gorgeous and depict a wide range of characters as they follow their natural instincts. These are stories to be read with the heart and not the mind. The collection starts with the story of John and Sally. John has fancied Sally since they were young, but circumstances never allowed him to marry her. Both grew up and married. Then suddenly, Sally shows up at John’s place and makes an unusual request. The characters and the stories in this collection include a bartender struggling to keep sober, a composer dealing with loss, and many others.
The beauty in these stories is in the language, the humorous descriptions, and the realism that runs through each of them. They are short and loaded with those elements that entice the reader. The narrative voice is strong, absorbing, and the author’s handling of points of view is just superb. The humor fills every page, and most often, it is as situational as it is verbal. Like the terrific descriptions such as John capturing the sensation he had when he first saw Sally: “Seeing her all-American good looks, my knees began to cave.” It is a feeling that is so akin to our experience of love at first sight that every reader can relate to it. Marylee MacDonald is one of those authors who have mastered the art of the short story and who understand the elements that create excitement when readers pick up such stories. There is a world to explore in those stories, humanity to touch in each of them, and an emotional ride that fills the reader with a rare sense of familiar experience.