Joseph Allen

“Comets” is a collection of twelve stories following the life of Roberto Lazzara and his friends and family in Ybor City—located in Tampa, Florida. Roberto, his dad Johnny, Crazy Jimmy, Del Murphy, Pernell Grant, and the other significant workers of Johnny’s cabinet shop are the main characters whose lives the book explores—delving into conflicts involving the family’s race and culture, their family life, and their socio-economic levels. The stories are centered mainly around Roberto readers witness the vast changes in his life from being a teenager through his development into a middle-aged man, who’s following in his dad’s footsteps. Roberto slowly treads his way through life, eventually hoping to discover the true importance of his existence.

These stories are full of intense character development, emotional character relationships, and a resolution that will have readers clenching their chest as if they’ve lost a piece of themselves to this phenomenal anthology. The beginning is difficult to get into since it inserted readers directly into the story without any context, but the vast amounts of well-rounded description of the setting throughout the stories allows one to glide into the overarching story more gracefully. The author does a wonderful job of providing a range of background for all the individuals of the story, allowing one to develop an attachment to every individual, whether it was negative or positive. The anthology provides plenty of character development throughout, especially for the protagonist Roberto, but the ending is unsatisfying, leaving readers wanting more. Nonetheless, the story is beautifully detailed and will have readers reaching for tissues throughout.

Austen Grace