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The Price of Cookies by Finnian Burnett

A quick and easy read, The Price of Cookies is a complex study of the human condition. This tightly woven tapestry of sketches taken from significant moments and events in the lives of people who are connected will resonate with readers who have experienced grief, loss, and fear of acceptance in its various forms. Author Finnian Burnett is a master of short prose, using an economy of words to evoke empathy and understanding.

I was immediately drawn into this book from the first story, immersed in the theft of a few cookies as seen through both the eyes of the store clerk and the young thief. As I continued to read, it became obvious these stories are more than a collection—they are snippets of flash fiction carefully stitched together in a novella depicting a community and the trials of individuals who in turn impact the lives of others. Author Burnett has expertly pieced together the stories and timelines of their characters into a puzzle that forms a clear photo montage of their lives. The final scene circles back to the first, with the store clerk and boy thief sandwiching the in-between stories with the resiliency of the human spirit.

At times the scenes elicited a heartwarming response, but this was interspersed with horror as I read about the cruelty inflicted by intolerant behaviour. But each reader's response will vary, no doubt, due to Burnett’s finesse in telling a story that encourages introspection.

The question of life's significance is one we all share, as a part of our small communities as well as that of the larger world. Burnett will pull you into their community of interconnected characters who ponder the cost of what they need and desire in life. A thought-provoking read, The Price of Cookies will stay with you long after you finish reading the story, necessitating a second read.

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