Cheri & Me: Snippets of a Relationship
by William B. Caudle II
Authors Press

"If we can survive the years of adjustment to other personalities, we have a chance of being loved, and love in return."

Author Caudle shares his perspective in the often-perplexing realm of responsibility, respect, and romance known as marriage. Having experienced a difficult divorce, Caudle, a devout Mormon then residing in rural Tennessee, went looking for a possible new partner in 1998. What ensued was a months’ long email exchange with Cheri, who suddenly wrote, “I love you.” Bill wanted it to be true, so the two began communicating by phone and arranged to meet. After several false starts, he drove to Cheri’s home in Utah. Shortly thereafter, the two married.

In this collection of twenty-two short stories, characterized by the author as fiction but clearly laced with real events, Caudle shares their complex relationship over the past years. It starts, as many relationships do, with disagreements about money. She wishes they had more, though it would appear there is nothing the couple lacks. But after a winding discussion, he realizes she’d like to go out for Thanksgiving dinner. They banter and sometimes actually quarrel, often about seemingly trivial issues, such as which is better, her loyalty as a Salt Laker, or his love of his southern Tennessee home? He will cook. She doesn’t understand terms like “au gratin,” and he bakes tasty cheese biscuits. Who was that “Texas woman” he spent time with before he met Cheri? Is Cheri too worried about a scar on her face? Is she, given the task of editing, too critical of his writing when he thinks it’s one of his best skills? When did they first know they were in love? He doesn’t understand genealogy, and she can’t figure out GPS. If they’re snowbound for a few days, will they drive each other crazy, or will they cozily get to know each other better? All these matters are resolved over time, with increasing love and a good sense of humor.

Caudle is an award-winning short story writer and has included a couple of the best in this aggregation. He readily acknowledges Cheri’s significant role as editor and proofreader. Though the stories often seem to focus on conflict in marriage—any marriage—they are liberally spiced with moments of mutual amusement, a requisite ingredient for any long-term, loving partnership. The author is adept at creating lively dialogue. He uses slang and accents to good advantage, as when he, as a Southerner, explains why a person may say “he et it” rather than “he ate it” in a yarn about the South, no matter how it might “sound” to someone like editor Cheri, who grew up on the West Coast. Caudle always returns to the positives, demonstrating how he—the “first-person” narrator and sometimes annoying spouse—and Cheri, his willing but sometimes complaining partner, make little adjustments, stop and hear one another, and reunite in the enduring love they’ve had for each other all along. Caudle’s collection is a book for couples. While almost anyone can enjoy this book, married readers especially will laugh, sigh, and empathize with the protagonists—a man and woman seeking and gradually attaining marital contentment.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home