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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Madness of Being: Stories by Ron D'Alena is a compelling volume of stories that looks at the extraordinary, sometimes dark lives led by everyday people. They could be your neighbor, they could be a family member, or they could be you. The author deserves praise for his unflinching and insightful take on the human condition, motivations, and situations. This can't happen without honesty, and D'Alena's writing is all about honesty. He doesn't tiptoe around the truth and doesn't sugarcoat the lives he writes about. His style shows that there are still writers who realize every life lived is a story, everyone is a character, and everyone lives their own plot. He finds grains of truth, no matter how painful or banal, and writes about them.
D'Alena is a natural writer. His attention to detail, realistic dialogue and vivid descriptions bring his characters to life. He writes about people who are sometimes normal, sometimes down and out, who have things to hide, and who would rather stay in the shadows. They want to be like everyone else, and in some ways, they are everyone else. I like the psychological aspects of some of the characters and stories and the ups and downs most of us can relate to. A cheating husband, loneliness, substances, friendship, pathos, and support from unexpected places are just some of the themes in the stories. My favorite is probably the first story since it sets the tone for what you can expect in the ones to follow, though each has its own voice. He raises questions that make you think and offers stories you can return to, perhaps for a different interpretation each time. D'Alena takes the everyman tale and spins it into gold. If you like edgy stories about the ordinary or life's "underbelly," you will love The Madness of Being by Ron D'Alena.