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Thank You For the Music    by Jane McCafferty order for
Thank You For the Music
by Jane McCafferty
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

The fourteen stories of this anthology all have some element of music incorporated into the plot. A character plays an instrument, or is fascinated by a certain singer or group. Occasionally the music is a major factor in a story, but at other times the connection is quite subtle.

One of my favorite offerings is Berna's Place, about a twenty-five year old man who brings his sixty-year-old wife home to meet his parents. But I didn't find all the narratives in the collection are as straightforward and interesting. Some confused me, leaving me wondering what on earth the story was about. For example, Light of Lucy starts off in an appealing way, with a group of parents waiting for their children to return from a ski trip. But then the story turns into a bizarre meeting with Lucille Ball - I just could not appreciate what the author was trying to say.

I read the book from cover to cover in one sitting. Perhaps a better approach would be to enjoy one story at a time, in order to reflect on the anthology's many themes - of music, life, friendship, and family. I generally stay away from short story collections, since I never seem to get the underlying themes of the stories. Thank You For the Music, unfortunately, didn't win me over to the genre.

Having said that, Jane McCafferty is a talented author with a lyrical way of writing that pulls the reader in, and I recommend Thank You For the Music to reading groups, as its varied stories invite interesting points for discussion.

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