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The One Right Thing by Bruce Coville
Edited by Deb Geisler
Cover Artist: Omar Ryyan
Review by Steve Sawicki
NESFA Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781886778726
Date: 15 February 2008 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Publisher's Website / Show Official Info /

This book is a collection of 15 of Bruce Coville's short stories (okay, one is a poem). Bruce has a twisted mind, but twisted in the old ways akin to the Brother's Grimm. Mostly he writes about heroes. Actually, mostly he writes about beings being heroic, pointing out that being a hero is nothing more than making the right choices when they need to be made. And, so, Bruce introduces us the the Princess looking for a new smell, the groom swallowed by a giant, a magician's struggling apprentice, a boy who kept faith with an angel and others. None of Bruce's beings have an easy time of it. In fact, adversity seems to be thematic, whether it be self inflicted or external. Solutions are found, although not always the simple or easy ones and the resulting consequences are not always happy in their endings. But, such is the world, whether it be the real one or the fantastical one.

This is a wonderful book, full of short stories that are masterfully composed and crafted with skill, expertise and wit. The writing is crisp and character centric and fitting to the situation being written about no matter how odd it might be. My favorite story of the bunch was The World's Worst Fairy Godmother. It's a typical Coville story, unpredictable, funny, telling and fast paced. Wonderfully told. Bruce has a real eye for composition and length.

Bruce Coville is a writer, a story teller and a teacher. All three come together in his written work. You can see Coville the teacher in story length and composition and the structure; you can see Coville the storyteller in the selection of the material, the selection of character, and the selection of focal voice; and you can see Coville the writer in the usage of words, the combination of character and setting, and the choice of story elements. A wonderful collection that can be read by adults and young adults.

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