'All I Want Is What You've Got,' by Glen Chamberlain

Strongly suggested: Put the short story collection "All I Want is What You’ve Got," by Glen Chamberlain, in your Amazon cart. Don’t waste time sticking it on wish lists — it’s that good. Initially I felt listless based upon its title and cover; however, my mood rapidly changed. Each bold, heartfelt story left me breathless and wanting to read more.

This collection is a finalist in the short stories category of the High Plains Book Fest. Chamberlain honors the genre, unlike writers who drag the same characters with catchy, trite devices through chapters wrongly labeled short stories. Her deft plots and profound insights highlight those times which catch us by the throat for good, bad or otherwise. She deepens the human experience. Although each character’s situation is unique, the western rural backdrop serves as a constant: “Despite the fact that Ken had lived in Big Springs for twenty years and had fathered locals, he was not considered one.” You may find yourself rereading clear yet multifaceted, crystalline sentences: “So I stood in the dark with a net of weak light from a billion light years away shrouding me.”

Perhaps decades spent reading MSU’s freshmen/sophomore essays has nurtured Chamberlain’s craft, or her previous awards serve to remind her that she needs to keep writing for us? I feel privileged that these short stories came my way. Give it to friends, but only those you really care about.

Retired teacher Bess Lovec has lived in Billings for 40 years.

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