The Contest and Other Stories
by Joe DiBuduo and Kate Robinson
Tootie-Do Press

"'Look, apparently it hurts you because I love art and literature as much as you love banking and business.'"

The archetypal overbearing father at odds with his son’s artistic ambitions is familiar but gets fresh treatment in this story of a fledgling literary arts magazine inherited by Peter John Rizzo. Authors Dibuduo and Robinson capture the angst that accompanies finding your own way apart from your parents. Peter is under pressure to make the magazine solvent despite his father’s refusal to support him and eventual attempts to sabotage his success. Peter, with help from a small staff, comes up with a writing contest to generate revenue for the magazine. Each issue the staff chooses a painting and invites writers to submit a story inspired by the artwork.

The authors chose to include the winning stories as part of the structure of this inventive novel. This inclusion comes with a risk, for at times the wide-ranging short stories interrupt the flow of Peter’s story of family dysfunction and inner conflict. The winning stories and accompanying color artwork help to generate an overall celebratory tone for all things literary. Readers with a variety of tastes and preferences will appreciate the eclectic nature of the stories which represent genres such as romance, fantasy, paranormal suspense, alternate history, and magical realism.

The philosophical discussions about what appeals to readers are also interesting, and the feedback the staff receives from readers adds an authentic flourish, for everyone is a critic with opinions about the merits of each winning story. Dibuduo and Robinson confirm the collaborative nature of the literary arts and the power of story to help us find our way. For anyone wrestling with the conflict of whether a life committed to the arts is financially viable, this story weighs in with resounding support for following your passions.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home