While we often find ourselves engulfed in longer stories, driven by a need to consume every extended chapter and continuation, short stories, particularly collections of them, seem to be forgotten in the excitement of series.
The art of short stories is one difficult to master; the writer must be able to both share an engaging story that hooks the audience while being able to portray enough about the story for it to make sense.
To say author Tim Baughman Jr. had mastered this art would be an understatement. Every one of the short stories in an Epilogue to Innocence is well-written from both a grammatical and readable stand-point. They are engaging, drawing the read to strongly-crafted characters. It features unique and provocative plots, and enough intrigue to leave the reader wanting more, all the while being satisfied with what they’ve completed.
While each story could likely stand on its own as a longer piece, part of the draw is that they are shorter. They hook you, draw you to the characters, attach you to the story, and release you in a short timeframe, making it a book easy to enjoy all at once, or read story by story over a period of time.
Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the book is the collection’s dark nature. Unlike many stories, it is not filled with hopeful, uplifting tales, but rather opts to take a deeper look at some of the less positive emotions and experiences one can face in their twenties. Whether it is lust, loss, or any of the harsher realities of life, the story gives a firsthand look at some of the less pleasant sides of life.
One may think this kind of journey would lead to an overall depressing vibe, however, An Epilogue to Innocence does the exact opposite. Though tackling some hard and often intense issues, Baughman has the capability to leave one feeling hopeful after reading. Where that hope comes from, I can’t quite put my finger on it definitively. I personally would attribute it to the fact that it is a reminder the harder times in life, particularly in our young adult years, are not abnormal. We all face things that either make us stronger or break us down in the end, and An Epilogue to Innocence captures that with grace.
This was a great read, and definitely one worth picking up. I look forward to seeing more works from Tim Baughman Jr. in the future. The book does contain some fairly sexual content and mildly descriptive violence, so if that’s not your thing, be forewarned.
*Note: I read and reviewed this book on behalf of the author, in exchange for nothing other than my 100% honest thoughts. I will definitely be purchasing a paperback copy to add to my shelf.