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Book Review: "Universally Adored and Other $1 Stories"

by Elizabeth Bruce

Delightful is not a word I use often when describing short story collections, but feel I have to when describing Elizabeth Bruce’s UNIVERSALLY ADORED AND OTHER $1 STORIES.

Each short story (and often very short) begins with “One dollar,” a phrase that drops the reader into the life and times of often externally tough, but internally tender characters trying hard to make a deep connection to others in a sometimes unforgiving — and forgiving — world. Often drawing on the etiquette and rich language of the South, the characters find humor and release and love.

I loved the kitchen waif in 1800s New Orleans who avoids her future in a brothel by throwing in her lot with a young man charming as herself and willing to believe the future can be as bright as they both believe. And young Daisy who tosses her beloved baby mice socks — Mandy and Mathilda — out the window because their mice mama might be looking for them.

The book is as devoted to adoration and all of its cohorts — admiration, devotion, veneration — as the title implies!


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