Jaguar in the Drive
is a book consisting of six short stories. Each of the stories has a woman as the main protagonist and the shorts were very diverse in subject matter. In the first, a couple watches as a jaguar makes itself at home on their Balinese driveway. That's it. They watch as one jaguar is joined by a second and both animals retreat into the rainforest. The second story is, in my opinion, the best of the shorts. It is titled The Last Woman-Rebecca Jones
. Miss Jones, a geography graduate, awakes to find herself alone OR at least alone in Las Olas, a popular thoroughfare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rebecca ventures outside of her apartment, through the empty streets, to the park that should be filled with lots of people on St. Patrick's Day. Nothing. No one. The only sign of life are animals. Sean, a beautiful Irish Setter that Rebecca often greets in the park before this strange day, almost knocks her over. Besides a few other watchful animals, the streets are deserted and Becky knows that something is wrong. Where are the people? What has happened? Why is she, Rebecca Jones, the only one left? She will have to go and seek others. If they are not in Florida, perhaps there are survivors elsewhere. Becky, with Sean as her only companion, begins her arduous journey in search of human life. Then, there is the story of a woman who discovers she married a bionic man. Meh. The fourth story is Baby Bear and the Three Goldilockses-Beryl Bear
. Beryl Bear, instead of Goldilocks, is on the hunt for food. Hungry and smelling a delicious aroma coming from a small cabin, Beryl enters. Care to guess the rest? The Goldilocks family returns home and finds the unsuspecting little bear in the smallest of human beds. As humans are apt to do, they practically torture the poor bear to death. The author's note provides the reader with the moral of the story, one I fully agree with. Finally, the last two stories, one about a woman's adventures sailing and the other about a Russian girl named Katerina/Yuli and her family, who have come to America to graduate/teach at Harvard thanks to President Reagan, did very little for me. I assume the moral of the last story, about the Russian girl Katarina/Yuli, was to understand that no matter where one originates or what our prejudices are, we have our similarities and if we take the time to get to know one another it may be possible to get along. If humans weren't so judgemental about colors, religion, nationalities and condemning others because they're nerds, jocks, fat, ugly, beautiful, stupid or smart...DIFFERENT than us, perhaps if we dig deeper within ourselves we might find friendship and acceptance with those we judge. One may find that the person they judged without getting to know may be someone worth knowing afterall. Friends, lovers, even family, can come in many differnt packages. It's whats inside that counts. Right?
Here's the deal. I don't normally read short stories. They're not really my thing. But, like the moral of the last story, I like giving new things a chance. And, because I'm not an expert on the short stories scene, who am I to judge? I enjoyed a few of the shorts and a couple of the stories weren't as entertaining. However, there was that one story that did interest me and I bet it would have made a great story all by itself. When the story was good, it was great! The author's writing style had the ability to keep me reading. I enjoyed the way Somers weaved characters from one story into the other. I also appreciate the authors apparent love for nature, one of my passions. Oh! The books dedication was THE BEST book dedication I've ever had the privilege to read.
"For my littlest sister, who would have killed dragons for me. She died aged five and is always in my mind. She could be some of the females I have written about...well, some of them."
*Received this DRC/ARC from Netgalley and Matador in exchange for an honest review.