Wheeler, Jerry L. “Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits”, Lethe Press, 2012.
What’s For Dessert?
I must admit that I thought a great deal before I sat down to review this book. You see, Jerry Wheeler is also a reviewer and for whatever reason regards me as competition, something I do not understand. I have never felt the need to compete with other reviewers simply because my approach to reviewing is personal and unlike any others. For two consecutive years we have both attended the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival and again for whatever reason, we have never spoken and that does not come from me. I also have never understood why on his website “Out in Print” when he posts a review, he subtitles it “Only at Out in Print” and the book spoken of had already been reviewed by me and posted on my site in most cases several months before. Now getting that “out in print” and pushing those thoughts aside, I am going to give a more than fair review to his book nonetheless.
This is a book of erotic writings and most of you know that I do not really like erotica unless it has some literary qualities and/or value. Actually anyone can write smut if he has a little imagination but Wheeler has gone a step further. His erotica is excellently written and fun to read. I have heard it said that the stories are almost “aphrodisiacs” and I must agree. Using fruit as a symbol for sexual prowess, Wheeler uses the theme throughout the book and while sometime one has to pay for the result, it is the result that counts and is important.
I love the variety of stories here and the characters range from farmers to bears to musicians. There is a mystery to some of the stories and while all are sexy, some are funny, some are mysterious and all are fun. Now one thing that erotica must do is shock and here is where Wheeler shines. I have read several of his other stories but it is in this collection that he really comes of age. He tells us in his introduction that he has always been a fan of Edgar Allen Poe and we see that in his writing. While he is not yet a Poe, he is on the road and as prolific as he is, we may yet see that. There is a “Poe-ish” malevolence to the stories here and just about every theme that you can think of appears in this collection.
Most of you know that aside from not being a big fan of erotica, I am also not a big fan of short fiction but this book could change my mind. Grab a copy and see if you feel the same.