Me-Time Tales by Rosalind Minett starts out with a challenge. Am I qualified to read this? Billed as a collection of tea-breaks for mature women and curious men, I decided I could fit into the curious category. It was biologically impossible to fit into the first target audience and I had stumbled over “mature.” It is difficult for me to read a collection of stories without making comments on each one. That makes for long reviews. So …
Marian in Underwhelmed is a woman of amazing patience. She put a lot into her developing relationship with Pete; she seemed to be more his teacher about how to act in relationships than his girlfriend. A man of very few words, Pete gave her only the gifts that she told him she wanted. Pete was not able to articulate clearly a promise he wanted Marian to make. Surprisingly, Marian gave him her word without knowing what the promise entailed. She felt it was a good investment in their future. Things didn’t quite go as she would have predicted. I was struck by the extremely accommodating view of life situations that Marian demonstrated. There is something here about lemons and lemonade.
In the story Blind Date, Nick wanted to introduce his sister Jess to someone new. Before Jess agreed to meet Mark, there had been phone conversations. Mark sounded good but he also seemed to be full of himself. Jess agreed to the date and was taken to a pub by brother Nick where the two would meet Mark and another mutual friend, Tony. When Jess saw Mark, she was so impressed that she couldn’t look at him too directly or too long or she would start blushing. It was when it was time to leave the pub that she detected Mark’s “fatal flaw.” Would it be enough to keep Jess away? This tale was remarkable to me for its British English and slang. I’m sure there are several words or expressions I still do not know but that did not take anything away from a very appealing story.
In A Fitting Matter thirteen-year-old Peggy has lots of questions for her mom. Some she can ask her mom only and some she cannot ask of either her mother or father. She doesn’t want to talk to her father about buying her first bra and her mom thinks she is too young. Peggy is adamant about the purchase; she and her classmates have agreed on a joint buying trip. Peggy has questions about her family. Her father is older than her mother by several years. Neither father nor her mother will permit questions about her grandmother or her aunt Barbara, both relatives on her mother’s side. Her grandmother and Aunt Barbara had left for the United States years before with no explanation. No contact was encouraged or even allowed. There were no explanations. But when the seventy-year-old Barbara returned to England for a visit with the fifty-four-year-old Peggy, she was determined to get to the root of the family rift. Her parents were dead, and Barbara should feel comfortable to speak. She did, and skeletons fled the closet.
In Finding Out, Jamie Denton and Sara Barrett are teamed together as a reporter and photographer unit. They would learn by doing under the supervision of an industry legend mentor. Neither could understand why they didn’t get some of the more desirable assignments. This last one, to investigate ghost sightings in Tricklam village, would make them a laughing stock to their colleagues. But there was no arguing with Mr. Bramlingham. The two began by interviewing village elders, most of whom agreed that there had been increased recent sightings of a ghost. The two novice staffers would have to investigate the area where the spirit had been seen. Their investigation would take place late at night in foggy and cold conditions. Jamie and Sara did, in fact, see and experience something. Separated during their sightings, when they compared notes later, the two knew they had both experienced the same incident. The problem they faced was in proving their stories to their mentor. Not surprisingly, the spirit or spirits had not left photographic evidence. Working their way through the dilemma might either sink their careers or turn into a life-long project.
In Staying Put readers learn of a woman’s escape attempt from a life that resembles slavery. Was it a success? What caused the situation to occur in the first place?
Remember the times when it was difficult to open a jar of pickles? How about ketchup? Jars that have been on a shelf too long are very difficult to open. Lids are too firmly secured; they have been Screwed on too tight. But that is possibly not what readers thought when they read the story title.
Prunella’s mom nagged her to eat throughout her childhood. In Eaten Up, mom told Prunella that with such poor eating habits, Prunella would never be able to have babies. Prunella’s mom was wrong.
Lament is written as a poem. Think about yourself or any of your friends contemplating retirement.
In First Feast, food inspires Art. Food even becomes Art. Food replaces normal support systems for young Elfreda.
The title for this story, A Slight Invasion, is both ironic and a complete understatement. This might be the saddest story of the collection.
The Real Prize was not the large check won by correctly decoding a clue in the crossword puzzle competition. Ricky and Des were schoolmates and close friends. Des didn’t mind that Ricky copied off him and won competitions and prizes. Although the two worked in the same printing company, Ricky rose rapidly in the company and received many perks while Des never got much higher than the mail room working as a gofer. Then Des met Sylvia, a deaf and mute woman. Des learned sign language and Sylvia trained Des to become more motivated and caring about advancement. Des advanced, Ricky didn’t. Then came the day Ricky had to deliver a prize to Ricky. It was the same day Ricky and Sylvia shared a secret.
A Change Of Support doesn’t appear in the table of contents. I suppose some sort of formatting error caused this story to appear as an immediate follow on to the above story. It was a bit confusing as I had to read a few paragraphs to realize this is a different story from the one above. In this story, Harriet gets a new mattress. Her old one had been with her all her life. This new mattress would change shape for the first few days as it decompressed from the tight packaging it had been delivered in. The delivery person said it would seem to grow to fit her and the process would take a few days. Harriet was experiencing a time of several changes in her life. She had just gotten rid of a tightly controlling boyfriend, Matt. She had almost lost all her old friends as she submitted to his controlling behavior. Finally, a few events Harriet wanted to attend made her see the light. Matt had deviously prevented her from going and Harriet recognized his behavior for what it was. She had finally gotten rid of him by ignoring him. The mattress was a nice and unexpected present though. She should thank him.
A Material Trip to the city to buy a dress or two. That was what Elaine planned and she would be home to have supper with Brian. But she had stumbled into a robbery. The robber, “Dimitri” liked her and had held her hostage while he counted the money from the robbery. It was a lot, enough to buy a house years before she and Brian would ever be able to save enough money for a purchase. She had missed the last train home and her policeman husband Brian was going to interrogate her about her long absence. Should she just chuck her old life and go off with Dimitri and the money? Interesting choices.
Well Woman is a story I completely do not understand. I am sure it has to do with the title I don’t know what a “well woman examination” is. I get what the importance of the stolen item is but for this story I cannot connect any dots. This is a nice illustration of the difference between American and British English.
Anti-Dote illustrates the passage of time. As a last story of the collection, it is perfectly placed.
There is a lot for me to appreciate in this collection of tales. For me, the most entertaining element is the language used. The differences between British English and American English made one story, Well Woman, a complete mystery and another, Blind Date, nearly incomprehensible. The latter story had lots of slang and that adds another dimension to language difficulty. I give this book five Amazon stars solely based on its originality. It is only 140 pages but the denseness of the content with its twists and turns made it a slow read. Slow does not mean unenjoyable. I liked the collection, but these stories play with a reader’s mind. It sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon. It is not a Kindle Unlimited read. I have no idea how I obtained it. I noticed that the author’s companion piece to this, Curious Men (He-Time Tales) is available on Kindle Unlimited and I will read it next. It is 163 pages. I expect to find it equally puzzling and enjoyable.