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THE WAY IT WAS: Short Stories and Tall Tales is a mixed bag, consisting of four parts. The focus is on eight stories that are throwbacks to a bygone era, when life in America was simpler. Computers were at least a decade or two away, and cell phones and iPads were a gleam in a futurist’s eye, if that.

Yet these reflections are timely not only in their exploration of emotions common to young people trying to find their way in life, but in their universality.

The ups and downs of a single adult is a pervasive theme, and nostalgia plays a big role. The storyteller’s imagination runs wild in four accounts of events that stretch the boundaries of verisimilitude. These tales about fantastic people and events surely aren’t plausible – or are they? The reader must judge for hermself (this author’s invention of a single, gender-neutral pronoun).