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Thanks for reading, Geoffrey!

I’ve never read any of Samantha Irby’s work, but it all looks pretty funny, haha. Thanks for the other suggestion. I tend to read and listen to a separate book at the same time, so I will have to add these two titles to my list. Looking forward to listening to them!

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Let me know what you think, if you do!

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Excellent story, you brought the characters to life. Strange thing maybe, perhaps it is becasue of the strained relationship I had with my mother, but i found myself feeling sorry for the mother character.

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Thank you so much, Scott. I’m happy you mentioned her character. It wasn’t until Jamison comes home and finds her asleep on the couch when my view of her changed. I feel sorry for her, too. I think she’s severely depressed. She has a steep, uphill climb regarding her own mental health. Until she can take care of herself, she’ll have a difficult time caring for her son. (This is where I landed in my vision of the story, and I’m sure other readers may feel differently!)

Thanks again for reading and for the thoughtful comment!

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I agree. Who can judge? We don't know what causes/caused her rage. There was a rational, loving being inside her somewhere...

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I also agree. I felt for both of them right away. Nicely done, Justin. She wouldn’t yell at her kid for the fun of it. Poor thing is overwhelmed and cracking. Thanks for showing it with the little glimmer of what she could offer at the bedroom door. May those two have some better days.

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Thank you so much for reading, Tara. I hope better days are on the horizon for them, too!

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Another good one.

One note: I'd ditch ' as usual ' . If you feel like you need to anchor the regular interactions between kid and librarian there, something like " she wore the lime green top that always made her easy to spot in the aisles. Did she wear that every Thursday?" There are dozens of ways to do that rather than just state that the library trip was a common occurrence.

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Thanks, Jimmy, and thank you for the excellent feedback. I think I subconsciously “speed up” stories by telling, sometimes, when a more carefully placed detail - in a few more words - could serve the story better. This is a perfect example of that scenario. I really appreciate your suggestion!

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Jul 17, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

I remember that every summer we would worry about how our students were faring away from the safe haven we gave them. This is a wonderful reminder that all kids don't have the advantages that we did or that our kids do. Also, I still find libraries a perfect place to get away from it all, and books are portals to another place no matter how old you are! Two from this summer that have stood out for me are The Bird Hotel by Joyce Maynard and Life and Other Love Songs by Anissa Gray.

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I remember too, Andrea. They’re some of the first kids who come to mind. My library in town is a 5-10 minute walk from school. When September rolls through, I’m contemplating taking a daily walk there during my lunch break. It might be the perfect little escape during those hectic days! Thanks for sharing those titles. Do you think I would enjoy them?

Thank you for reading my story!

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Jul 17, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

Another great story but sad.I loved how books were his escape.

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Thanks, Mom! 😀❤️

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Jul 18, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

When a story resonates with one’s life, it is as if the words themselves are falling out of their mouth and bolding each letter in black as the story walks through their life. Beautifully done Justin.

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Wow, Alixandra, I appreciate the thoughtful and kind words. Thank you so much. (Also, every time I read one of your comments, I feel like I’m reading lines of poetry. Your words carry a certain grace/elegance.)

Thanks again for reading my story. 🙏

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Jul 18, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

Thank you for your generous words to me Justin. Touched my old age shyness and i think I blushed. ha! Your writing inspires me; truly, deeply.

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It's sad that this is the way some kids are treated. At least young Jamison has found a wholesome refuge in books and good, caring people outside of his family. Great story, Justin.

Regarding summer reading: Have you ever read "Nobody's Fool" by Richard Russo? Also the sequel called "Everybody's Fool." They are set in Upstate NY, your neck of the woods. Highly recommend!

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Thank you, Jim! It is a sad reality. The first line of dialogue in the story was something I overheard in a parking lot the other day. (Not word for word, but it captures the same sentiment.) I’m happy Jamison has found a sanctuary of sorts and good, caring people.

I’ve never read Nobody’s Fool, but it sounds right up my alley! Thank you very much for the recommendation. I’m going to add it to my reading list! 🤓

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Wow, that was really nice.

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Thank you, Tom!

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Great story and true for so many kids. I read The Stand when I was 16 or 17 and that book really stayed with me. King is masterful at creating a world.

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Thanks so much for reading, Ben!

I’m only 100 pages in, but I think The Stand will be one that stays with me, too. People often associate King with the horror genre (rightly so!), but I think some of his best works fall outside of that realm. 11/22/63 comes to mind. He truly is one of the best storytellers and world builders, in my opinion.

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Agreed, I’ve always thought that horror was just the commercial vehicle for him. He’s always had a distinct ability to create amazingly rich characters, and relationships that feel so real. The horror feels so much more impactful because he makes you care so much about the characters he’s brought to life.

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Yes, exactly! Couldn’t agree more with you, Ben!

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Nice mood piece. Did you try this in first person as well?

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Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Alex. You know, it isn’t something I considered, but I’m sure it could pull the reader in more from that perspective. I appreciate the idea!

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Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Potentially more immediacy, more intensity. Would be interesting to compare.

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So true! Perhaps one of these days I’ll go for it and look at the two side by side! ✍️

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You took me there. Lowered me into the depths, then shone a ray of hope. Lovely. I really like your style

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Thanks so much, Stephen! I appreciate the kind words. 🙏

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Escape reading is a godsend! Enjoy your escape with The Stand. My all-time favorite read.

Currently on the porch reading pile: Andre Dubus III’s Such Kindness, Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead and Small Fires: An Epic in the Kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson.

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Thank you, Amie! I’m excited to hear it. So far it’s a page-turner...the anticipation builds and builds. And thanks for sharing your reading pile! I’ll need to look into those titles. 🙏

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I loved this story, Justin! I was in Jamison's house. I was with him in the library. My imagination filled up with the visual descriptions.

This story is not too dark; it describes Jamison's reality, one--sadly--shared by many children.

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Thank you, Jenise! I appreciate the reassurance. It is a sad reality indeed.

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Jul 17, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

"They’ll get you outta here someday," is the key to this story and brings the mother's pain into focus. Moving.

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Thank you for reading and for the kind words, Ruben! It was a painful line to write without question. I’m happy the story resonated with you!

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Touching story, Justin. It is shame that some children get stuck with crap parents, for whatever reason. Although there seems to be a sliver of love in the mother’s later words. Perhaps she is bipolar. Anyway, well done.

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Thanks so much for the kind words,Mark. Yeah, I think bipolar disorder or depression are the likely candidates. She’s definitely going through a difficult phase in her life. I agree that it seems there is a sliver of love present.

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Jul 17, 2023Liked by Justin Deming

Justin, I tried to comment on your comment, but it somehow didn't go through. What I said, more or less, is that The Bird Hotel may appeal to you. It's about a woman who survives a tragedy and takes a trip to Central America where she meets a host of interesting people, and from their stories and eventually hers, comes peace. I loved it. The other one by Anissa Gray covers a couple from the sixties, where the woman has aspirations to become a singer in the Motown style, and the man just wants a peaceful life and a way to forget something in his past that had a huge impact on him. Try them! I loved your story, and I agree that you should drop in on your library during your lunch hour in the fall!

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That happened to me earlier, too. No worries at all! I will definitely give the books a go. The Bird Hotel sounds like an inspiring read, so I’ll likely look into that one first. Thanks so much, Andrea!

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