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Nickels and Dimes by Cole Parker

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I was strongly reminded of A Christmas Carol as I read this tale -- with the rather poignant recollection that Scrooge was able to reconstruct his life in one night as opposed to spending months at the task! Ouch! A very well paced and crafted story.

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I really loved this story. I think it's one of the finest short stories Cole has written lately - not that all his stories aren't excellent - but this one is exceptional.

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I just got around to reading it. As I have said in this forum several times, my favorite stories involve redemption, and Nickels and Dimes serves that in a way that is both convincing and heartwarming. Charles's redemption is the most obvious, but we also see it in Gray, a frustrated and not very happy boy who learned to respect himself enough to insist on respect from Charles, and even a little bit in the way Chip grew in his sense of purpose and direction. Very nicely done.

I guessed, fairly early in the story, that Charles's redemption would involve working in the restaurant, and I wasn't disappointed. The job gave him a perfect opportunity to learn empathy and humility—or he could have just let it turn him into a more bitter person. Ultimately,while redemption usually involves some exterrnal trigger, it always depends on a choice by the person being redeemed.

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This story truly spoke to me and affected me deeply. Cole's stories are so great because there is always something in them that helps the reader, speaks to the reader, finds something inside the reader that responds and grows as a result of reading his story. This is one of his best--but then, I always say that. 

 

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