If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: 08/31/12
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black is a debut collection of ten short stories. The central theme is transition and coping.
The titular story is a prime example of how these stories unfold. Each scene begins with the phrase, "If I loved you, I would tell you this—" as she silently rants about her neighbor. He, unaware of her health problems or her son's problems, builds a tall fence around his property. The fence limits the space in her drive way, making it more difficult to get to her home. That apparently small inconvenience spirals out to many more problems and more bottled up anger.
The simplest solution — one not tried by the main character — would be to talk politely with the neighbor. She, though, is the silent martyr type. She keeps quiet to keep the drama and emotional tension high.
The other stories pull similar tricks. After a couple of them, you'll start to see the patterns involved in writing the stories. At that point, you will either like the collection, or you won't. I found the emotional string pulling tedious at the halfway point.