BOOK REVIEW: JoAnn Stevelos’ “Dream Alibis”
…our two grins as wide as wide as the bells ringing inside me whenever you come near Bells ringing so loud that I will never believe you can’t hear them too.The short poems in the first half of the book set the stage for the second half: “Little Red Wagon,” a play told in a series of vignettes that focus on the secrets that families keep through misinterpretation, pride and shame. Lucy is a young woman approaching her 20th birthday. Her grandfather Ezra and father Walter debate whether to give her a letter from her mother, Attie, who committed suicide some time ago, but left the letter to be given to Lucy on that day. Their arguments and recriminations reveal a large gulf between their respective memories of Attie, both as a political activist and as a loving mother. The play is written with two alternative endings that reveal different motives for the suicide, both completely plausible, reinforcing Stevelos’s theme that another person’s inner world is ultimately unknowable. Sometimes wrenching, sometimes hopeful, Stevelos’ understated writing serves as a compassionate beacon, illuminating the dark corners of complex family relationships. It’s a gem of book that rewards close reading. The book is available through Amazon.com.