Book Review: Emily’s Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway

I love the short story forum. It’s a daunting task to set a limit on words to tell a tale. But it’s something to weave a collection of stories together to form a bigger story. “Emily’s Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway” by Leverett Butts, is such an example. The crux of these stories tell the tale of Thomas, a young man trying to make sense of the world. But it’s not as simple as he believes. And after meeting Emily, a girl with issues of her own, the world becomes more complicated. And it doesn’t help that friends like Gardener Smith twist his way of thinking under the guise of educating him. The stories compose a journey of a young man struggling to find his place.

Leverett Butts does a wonderful job of integrating these stories into a tale that doesn’t pull punches. Leverett’s description of Owen, Georgia is so rich for a small town. The characters and their relationships have range and complexity. No one is squeaky clean, not even Thomas. And by the end, you get the sense that all of them are doomed to be stuck in the environment they were raised in. 

Leverett Butts includes a variety of poems and short stories. Some stories take place in the same universe of the main series.  Some deal with loss, some about revelations. “Misdirection” is a favorite. It’s about a hit man who approaches a crossroads in his career. “Requiem” is another good one where a young man recollects where he met the girl of his dreams and the friend who refutes it. And “Gods for Sale, Cheap” takes a satirical look at how we approach religion. I found that one fascinating. 

I want to write a series of stories that center around a theme, a character, a town, whatever. “Emily’s Stitches” is an example of how to approach such a task. What Leverett Butts does with this world and these characters is wonderful. He’s definitely an inspiration to follow. 

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

1 thought on “Book Review: Emily’s Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway”

  1. Thanks for the recommendation George, I am also interested in this type of structure which was the prime reason for my reading Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.

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