Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Review: 'Consoling Angel' by Denise Alicea

New York born Denise Alicea, Connecticut raised to become a poet, started writing poetry and romance –many of her romance short stories have been published. She graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in Marketing and has been an award winning author and book blogger for over 7 years and volunteering for many RWA chapters.

CONSOLING ANGEL is brief (16 pages) but carries undeniable magic in the way in which she relates a father/daughter devotion and the aftermath of a father’s death in engaging his memory so vividly in a unique manner. An excerpt from the early portion of the story follows: ‘Dad always liked old movies, especially those from the fifties. His favorite? Rebel Without A Cause starring James Dean. Dad loved James Dean and that, of course, is where I got my admiration for him. I think Daddy always liked James, not only because his name was also James, but for what he represented. James Dean was the epitome of freedom and being carefree. Dad was a free-spirited person, but he had been very dedicated to his studies since he started school. I guess that’s where I get it. Secretly, Dad wanted to be like Dean in his youth. He never got the chance then and now he never would.’

In this very brief novella/short story Denise Alicea reveals a tenderness that few writers can achieve in such a brief story. ‘Mira did not know what she had in store the day she fell asleep while wanting to escape her current situation. Overcoming a death from someone so close and burying herself in school and an internship has kept her somewhat awake and alive. An admiration for the actor, James Dean was all that kept the memory of her father alive. If she couldn’t be with her father, she could at least remember what they shared an admiration for together. She always wanted to meet James Dean… she didn’t know it would come true. Be careful what you wish for. It may just come true.’

It will be interesting to see which direction Denise elects to follow with her talent. It just feels like there is a novel brewing, so well does she handle the short story medium. Grady Harp, December 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.