Simple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated...moreSimple Jess is a simple love story. People tend to think of simple things as unworthy. Not the case at all. In a world where everything is complicated, murky, and it's hard to tell what is real and what isn't, the simple gets taken for granted. Kind of like Jesse Best.
Merriam-Webster lists these definitions of Simple, which I will hide in a spoiler if you don't care to read them...(view spoiler)[
I am a person who puts a lot of importance in education and in using your brain. I can blame that in part on my upbringing, but not completely. I have internalized that message way too much. I think that this book was therapeutic for me. In the rat race of life, I often forget to value what there is in my life that is free from elaboration, unconditional, without guile, fundamental. I put too much importance in achieving, only to feel bereft when those things fail to deliver. At the end of the day, I can still be loved, even if I am not the MVP at my job, don’t have millions of dollars in the bank, listed as a MENSA member, or on Maxim's Hot 100 or People's most beautiful list.
Jesse is the reminder of the steadfast things in life. The pure items of worth and beauty that seem diminished when we look in the horizon and see the greener grass that doesn’t belong to us. His heart is full of love. He’s a man who can be trusted to do what he promises. His ability to forgive is not based on his lack of intelligence but in the strength of his loving heart. When Althea needed help he gave it to her, asking for very little in return. And Althea saw that what Jesse lacked was much less than what he possessed.
Althea thought being alone and independent was better than relying on anyone else. She’d always felt like the unwanted addition since her father left her and went off to remarry another woman. She was the spare relative that had to prove she was worthy of being around. She didn’t want that feeling for her son, and she jealously guarded him, afraid to allow anyone else to influence him. But Jesse showed her that it was okay to trust in someone else, with her son and with everything that was truly of value. It took the kind words of Granny Piggott to get her to see that we need people, even those people who are the hardest to deal with.
I thought about the strange magic that is love. Our tendency to believe that our soulmate will come in a certain package or a specific way. That is if we even believe that love is possible for us. But God has other plans for us. I feel that in this story he was telling me that he gives beauty for ashes. Even though Jess was born diminished, and many folks took every opportunity to remind him of that, he had been given much in return for what he lacked. And that was more than enough to see him safe, loved, and content, and a blessing to others in his life. Another reminder to me that being content is the goal. Appreciating what seems merely adequate, when beneath or through a different set of glasses is pure riches.
I appreciate the simple beauty of this story. In the simplicity, I found true richness of storytelling and a resonance on an emotional level that makes me smile as I type the final words of this review. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This nifty collection of stories by Daniel McGachey is just what a fan of old school horror stories deeply in the vein of Montague Rhodes James (who h...moreThis nifty collection of stories by Daniel McGachey is just what a fan of old school horror stories deeply in the vein of Montague Rhodes James (who has rightfully been called the master of the ghost story) would clamor for once they have exhausted all the MR James out there on offer, or just as an adjunct to their classic horror reading. My tastes in horror are definitely in the old school vein, and I love when I am able to find newly written stories and novels that showcase the old school styles. My friend was kind enough to lend me her copy of this book, and I have spent the better part of this week and last reading and enjoying the stories on offer.
It goes without saying that this wouldn't appeal to readers who don't like the old school way of telling a story, and a reader who gets bogged down with antiquated description and language. However, if you are a big reader of classic horror, as I am, I think that you will find it enjoyable.
Admittedly, there were a couple of stories that were a bit on the dry side, and I found my attention wandering. But the truly scary, atmospheric, and just downright disturbing stories made up for it. I didn't try to read this one at night, except for when I read it one night on the elliptical at the gym. Yeah, that gave me a few creepy moments on the way home. Honestly, I would avoid reading this one at bedtime, because McGachey manages to get you where you live. For instance, he gave me that squirmy feeling of guilt at my penchant for loving tales of the macabre. Some might think it unsuitable reading for a 'good Christian'. I don't really think that intellectually, but there is a story that makes you wonder if you really should spend so much time looking into the dark, unless you want the dark to pay you a visit. Yeah, that's a disturbing thought. Not enough to put me off these types of stories, though. Just enough to raise some goosebumps.
I definitely have to give Mr. McGachey an A for his ability to write in the classic horror vein very authentically. I have read many stories from the Victorian and Edwardian periods with exactly the same language and style. He also develops atmosphere flawlessly. And I love his deft skill with a frame story, and how his stories seem to tie together in this volume. I liked Dr. Lawrence as his intrepid occult detective character, who reminded me of a more scholarly Kolchak. With the only negative being that some stories were a bit dry, I can't help but give this one a solid four stars. I will be looking for more of his stories to read in the future.(less)
How does he do it? How does Mr. James write such fantastic tales of terror? This story starts so benignly, I had this false sense of security. I was f...moreHow does he do it? How does Mr. James write such fantastic tales of terror? This story starts so benignly, I had this false sense of security. I was fooled but good. The conversational tone, and the dry, academic characters had me wondering where this story was going. Soon, I came to realize exactly what was going on. Our narrator collects pictures of homes. He gets a lead on a mezzotint (a metal engraving with a great deal of distinction between shades of light and dark) that he considers rather substandard for the two guineas the dealer is asking for. Only this is a special picture. It changes, you see. As the narrator becomes aware that this photo has some unlikely qualities, the unease builds. The narrator asks others to look at the picture, and they see something changing as well. What is one to think of this mezzotint?
It’s amazing that this story can be so eerie and disarming, even without knowing exactly what the nature of the mezzotint’s ability is. Is this a ghost story? Dark fantasy? What’s the nature of the figure in the picture? Mr. James doesn’t reveal that. It doesn’t matter. The story has served its purpose. The mood, setting, and plot deliver one heck of a read. (less)