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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Midwest's Diane Donovan Reviews Jendi Reiter's "Wishes."

Title: An Incomplete List of My Wishes
Author: Jendi Reiter
Genre: Literary Fiction - Short Story Collection
Author website:
ISBN: 9781944977207

Reviewed by Diane Donovan originally for Midwest Book Review

An Incomplete List of My Wishes provides social inspections in short stories that are astute windows into society's secrets, prejudices, double standards, and individual purpose. In the course of short pieces that examine relationships and reactions to life's biggest challenges, these works offer tightly-written, engrossing inspections that are as diverse in nature as they are connected by the unifying theme of plucking elements of humanity from inhuman conditions and fiery reactions. 

Many of these works have won prizes and publication by prestigious literary journals. Their stand-alone nature lends nicely to this pursuit, but when compiled as a whole under one cover, their impact is even greater. 

Take the short story 'Five Assignments and a Mistake', for example. The piece opens with a bang ("The day begins with a dead baby.") that makes it impossible to put down, but events turn far from the compelling opener as readers learn about a college psychology student's assignment to watch a child being wrested from its mother as she pursues a degree in social work. 

The protocols she's absorbing to handle clinical emergencies are actually the same lessons Laura Sue will need to make it through life, ministering to people who could turn violent, bleed, or bite. Riding shotgun with a woman from the city's Child Protection Department provides Laura Sue with a perspective that uniquely defines the world and sets the path for her involvement in it: one that deftly contrasts reality with the possibility of a different kind of discovery about life forces ("The day begins with dark her sleep, alone, she can lift off again into the oh of discovery: how the buzzing in her limbs subsided, for the first time ever, and she was vast and powerful as a sheet. She was wind. She could lie on the ocean and nothing would stir."). 

Laura Sue has evolved to be a student, a thief, a sexual tease to her boyfriend, and a mama's girl who has learned her lessons far too well. She sports a diamond engagement ring, but the engagement dialogue in her heart is another matter. 

Like the other observational vignettes in this collection, Jendi Reiter offers no easy conclusion. The "incomplete list" slices pieces from lives that, themselves, are works in progress as yet purposeful and undeveloped, offering inspections that cement the notion of lives led in a whirlwind of self-inspection and social challenge. 

The result is a vivid literary and psychological collection especially recommended for those who like their stories passionate yet observational, their psychological depths presented in sips rather than explosions of flavor, and their stories nicely imbedded with social and spiritual reflection alike. 

An Incomplete List of My Wishes offers the kinds of inspections that leave readers thinking far beyond the curtain call of quiet dramas in lives lived on the edge of self-realization and social engagement. 

Jendi Reiter is author of the novel Two Natures (Saddle Road Press), a Rainbow Award winner and finalists at Book Excellence Award and National Indie. See the book trailer at Midwest Book Reviews called it "Intense revelations about what it means to be both Christian and gay...a powerful saga"  Jendi is also editor of, a Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers. "

"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."  Surangama Sutra
Midwest's Diane Donovan Reviews Jendi Reiter's "Wishes."


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