Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Short Story Anthology/Poetry Anthology
Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words
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More than 40 people contributed to this anthology.
On 12/14/2012 tragedy struck at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT when twenty-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty six people, most of them children. Writers from around the world contributed to this anthology. Proceeds will go to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, a charity established by the local United Way affiliate “with the intent that the money raised would support families impacted by the tragedy, first responders, teachers, and the Newtown community in both the short and long-term.”
In the interest of full disclosure, the stories and poems in this anthology run the full spectrum from a tough read to very good. As Stephen Wilson, who edited the collection, explained in his Editor’s Note at the beginning:
Don Martin is credited with providing a complete proofing of the anthology. Many of our contributors have a native language other than English. As a result, there are varieties of creative uses of English demonstrated throughout these works. Even though Don and I have taken editorial liberties with the text and wording, I must point out that whenever possible the original, raw message of the expressed emotions was kept intact.
Some of that non-native English showed through and some of the stories are more polished than others. With a few exceptions (stories or poems with too much negative emotion and a couple that Wilson felt were “too strong for this anthology”) most contributions were accepted. So, in many ways, you might find this hit and miss. Not even all of the poems and stories have an obvious connection to the Sandy Hook incident, although I assume the individual author sees the thread connecting the two. But if you approach this work in the spirit intended, which Wilson describes as therapeutic for the writers, some of them are going to make a connection, whether inspirational or in some other way.
A couple of the stories stood above the rest for me. For Christmas, I Made My Mother Cry, by Guy Anthony De Marco is a nice variation on the “discovering the meaning of Christmas” trope. Another good one is Steampunk by Kit Roe, which was a tribute to those who help keep us safe and more.
A small number of proofing and copyediting misses.
Rating: **** Four stars