Full of sarcastic wit and humor, the twenty short stories in Return of the Dittos and Other Stories by Dale Andrew White turned out to be a fun and intriguing read. The first story of the bunch originally made me apprehensive about what I had started to read but turned out to just simply be the least appealing story of the book which came back with amusing and creative stories afterwards. The stories vary in subject but there are many that feel satirical in nature as we learn about Peon the bagger at the grocery store and other characters’ personality traits stereotype them and their actions throughout the book. Perhaps the best comparison of writing I’ve seen is in publications such as The Onion, a made up and fun news site.
It’s hard for me to pick any one story that I enjoyed the most out of this book, but I think the story of the two women, one an established and prominent politician’s wife and one a younger woman looking to gain social clout, who are on volunteer boards and trying to outdo each other on the social ladder was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed the disappearing room mate and, without giving away the ending, how the protagonist of the story ended up switching to an antagonist by the end of the story. The dry humor and sarcasm with which the stories are written make the author’s writing really stand out in style and was uniquely satisfying. It was amazing how the characters seemed developed and three dimensional in such a short span of time as the stories allowed. Many of the stories read as a newspaper clip to me with even the plots of the simplest pieces being well thought out and developed.
If there are any criticisms to be had with this book it would be to remove the first story. It simply didn’t match the caliber of the rest of the book and being the first story in the book made me question whether or not I wanted to continue to read the book. The second story caught my attention and I saw by the fourth story that the first just wasn’t up to par with the rest of the book. I’m sure the author could use his wit and humor to get it there however. The book was also edited very well and laid out nicely. In all I think readers who enjoy general fiction short stories and have a streak of dark humor and sarcasm will find this volume a treasure trove.