Leftover Shorts

Rated 4.00/5 based on 2 reviews
A diverse collection of three short stories written by Amy Neftzger: The Marshmallow War, Peripheral Witches, and Parson's Song. More

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Published by FOG INK
Words: 11,710
Language: English
ISBN: 9780974629667
About Amy Neftzger

Amy Neftzger (born June 23) is an American researcher and author who has published fiction books, non-fiction books, business articles, and peer review research. Her works have reached an international audience.

Amy was born in Illinois and graduated from Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. She received her bachelors degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida and her Masters in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She graduated from both Universities with honors.

She has written numerous business and journal articles, but her fiction works have been the most commercially successful. In 2003 she published Conversations with the Moon, which was also translated into Korean and published in South Korea. In 2005 she collaborated with her husband, guitarist Tyra Neftzger on a children's book called "All that the Dog Ever Wanted." The book was designed to introduce children to jazz music at an early age and included a CD sampler of jazz tunes. In 2007 she worked as an editor on a business fable called "The Damned Company." She release a collection of three short stories called "Leftover Shorts" in May of 2011 and has two additional books slated for release in late 2011.

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Reviews

Review by: Charlotte Elise on Nov. 28, 2011 :
Leftover Shorts is a collection of three, unique short stories by author Amy Neftzger. Each story has its own individual flavour, and each is an easy, enjoyable read.

The Marshmallow War
The first story takes place at Merryman Marshmallow Corporations, where the younger, more 'innovative' employees are about to be shown the meaning of the word. Five of the senior employees dub themselves the Fang of Five, and use toy guns to launch mini marshmallow attacks on the most annoying of the young staff.

Each character in this story has a unique voice and personality, and Amy has used well crafted dialogue to help these personalities shine through. There is the over-motivating Head of Department, Adderson, who enjoys endless monologging, cheerleader-speaking receptionist Siobhan and womaniser Jensen, to name a few. Amy's narrative voice is like another character in the story, with an easy, almost conversational flow to her well worded sentences.

To anyone who ever worked in an office, this story will be all too familiar, probably minus the marshmallow attacks, however.

Peripheral Witches or 'No Such Thing'
This story is laced with morals and themes, some subtle and some obvious, but a good mix all round.

It starts with Miriam, a busy mother, with her young daughter, Paige. After some conversation about the reality of witches, Miriam starts to see them, but only in her peripheral vision. When she starts to question her sanity, you know there's more at stake than at first glance.

By the end of the story, the tension is high and the themes clear. This scene, and indeed the rest of the story, is powerful through clever use of repetition to reinforce messages and well-developed metaphors. Each new piece of written imagery presents the scene to you in vivid light.

The relationship is quite natural between Miriam and Paige, which will be relatable to mothers and daughters alike. This is strengthened by age appropriate dialogue and Miriam's desperation to save her daughter from the witches she sees.

Parson's Song
This is a wonderfully sombre story, and my favourite of the three. We are privy to the life of Billy Parson, a charming fiddler and criminal of a superstitious southern town. Everyone believes he is either destined for greatness, or downfall. I was honestly torn by the end of the story as to which fate he had been dealt. He may have been a criminal but his kindness and charisma were the lasting impressions.


I very much enjoyed my brief reading into the lives of the Fang of Five, Miriam and Paige, and Billy Parson. These three stories are so unique and individual that all readers will find something here they can enjoy and take away from.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Tea on Oct. 17, 2011 : (no rating)
Normally, I don’t read short stories. Collections of short stories just aren’t my thing – they don’t give me enough time to get into the story, much less start enjoying it. However, when I was approached with a review copy of this book, I thought I’d give it a go – variety is the spice of life, after all. I’m actually glad I did – the three stories in this collection are all very different from each other, and written in an interesting way.

The first story, The Marshmallow War focuses on office politics in a humorous way – looking at the way companies tend to confuse youth with innovation. I appreciated the somewhat crazy ideas that the marketing company in the story came up with, especially the marshmallow guns, and the sticking marshmallows together – and their way of getting rid of their co-workers in the process. This story had a lighthearted feel, though the ‘message’ was fairly obvious, right from the offset. This was the longest story in the collection, and therefore probably the most complex, but it was an enjoyable read, and I’m pretty sure I was grinning like an idiot throughout.

The second story, The Peripheral Witches, looks at how our own negative thoughts can be demonized by looking at Miriam, a young single mother, who keeps seeing witches in her peripheral vision, though they disappear when she looks directly. It’s an interesting little story, though this is the one, I think, that I personally enjoyed the least in the book.

The third story follows the execution of a criminal, Billy Parsons, and how the townspeople who convicted him eventually saw (too late, unfortunately) that there was more to the man than his crimes. I enjoyed this one, despite the melancholy tone, and I almost wish this had been written into something longer. It’s the shortest in the collection, but it’s almost like there’s a novella or even a whole novel in there somewhere.

Overall, these tales were all very different from each other, and after finishing each I found myself thinking about what the meanings were behind them. I don’t know if I was reading into them too deeply, or maybe even not enough. This book made a nice, quick read, and it was refreshing, because it’s very different to what I’d normally read. I enjoyed this.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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