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Bent, Not Broken is a 30,000 word novella in the short story collection Lighting The Dark Side.
I really want to tell you about “Bent, Not Broken,” a story that should not be missed.
Dwayne suffers from OCD. I think that after finishing the story that some of my own compulsive tendencies have flared, but I’m not Dwayne. Dwayne must live in a world of odd numbers preferring 3s, 5s, and 7s. One of the more touching moments is when Dwayne is out on a date and he needed an extra chair and place setting at the table in order to feel comfortable, and I think that I’m hard to live with.
Dwayne is excellent at his job. He is calls people that he reefers to as “marks” and asks them about their preferences, surveys them about food, TV, etc, and rewards those who answer them with valuable coupon books. He holds the record for the most completed surveys in one shift. He is loved by his boss; hated by his co-workers. To Dwayne, his co-workers are the terrible trio. They play games with this desk, putting an extra pen in his up so that they number 4 or 6 or 8. These games make it impossible for Dwayne to focus.
The one thing that Dwayne has going for him is a mysterious woman that he calls Black-Coat Girl who is at the bus stop everyday at the same time he drives by on his way to work. Dwayne has made up several stories about Black-Coat Girl, who she is, what she does, why she takes the bus.
What is really nice about this story is that it has a very Punch-Drunk Love romantic twist that takes a seven car pileup on a snowy day to kick off. Dwayne has to take the bus, the very same bus that Black-Coat Girl takes. And on that day, Black-Coat Girl sits down beside him and admits that she thinks of him as her 20-Second Boyfriend.
The writing is really well done. The descriptions of Dwayne’s inner experience are strange and wildly detailed. They have a bumpy start to things, but their story ends well, not the happily ever after kind of ending, but an ending that suits the characters and left me wanting for more. by Aaron Wilson www.soullessmachine.com
You really must meet Dwayne whose life is about order and rightness, cleanliness, and counting things with precision. Everything in its place and under control - by the numbers. Well, that is, until Dee Dee gifted Dwayne with a lover's kiss. The ending of this tale may surprise you. by Ted Glines.
My favorite novella in the book was the very first one, “Bent, Not Broken.” It is about a man named Dwayne Johnson who is plagued by severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We watch Dwayne struggle as what are normal day to day activities for most of us are much more challenging for him. His anxieties are compounded by the fact that his co-workers gang up on him by moving things in his cubicle that he needs to have just so. You can’t help but to feel for the poor guy. Dwayne meets a girl and falls in love with her, but his many issues will be the cause of much strain and difficulty in the relationship. Kam Aures for RebeccasReads.
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