Mishaps and Misfortunes

23 December 2014

Mishaps and Misfortunes
by Doreen M. Bleich
Published by Doreen Bleich
Review by Alison Slowski
$12.00 ISBN 978-0-9731167-2-4

This delightful, light-hearted book of short stories introduces the author, and the hero of our story, a woman with a straightforward attitude to life, and a tendency toward the disasters which befall all of us. Whether they happen at a more rapid rate to her than most, or simply because her dramatic retellings render the actual situation that much more crazy, Saskatchewan is in debt to Doreen M. Bleich for providing her own humorous stories of her life as fodder for the reader’s amusement.

Giving the gift of humour to all of her readers is Bleich’s primary goal in this little, ninety-six page book of short stories. She goes through a variety of themes, from old age, to cranky husbands, drunken church congregation members, hazards explored in exercise in the form of biking, and window cleaning. Her penchant for comedic writing, coupled with her gift as an accomplished playwright and author of other short stories, combines to create pure slapstick humour that is the stuff of Charlie Chaplin’s comedy sketches. Never losing sight of the action or the direction in which her story is meant to go, her droll, deadpan narrative voice in writing, and ability to ‘tell a story like it is’, is an attractive quality of her stories. Readers wait in anticipation while she sets up her elaborate joke, like a comedian delivering a final punchline, which is in many ways what she is—a gifted comedian.

The themes and ideas that are explored throughout Bleich’s stories are varied and universal, and readers young and old will find something to relate to in this little gem of a book. Taking time out of your day to relax, appreciating your loved ones, friends or family, and minding your health by pursuing fitness are just some of the subjects that Bleich pokes fun at in her stories, while reaching middle age and getting older are others. Throughout all of her short stories, her love of the beauty of the Prairies shines through, evoking a happy, shining image of small-town Saskatchewan in the good-humoured spirit through which readers will see it.


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