I Was a Champion Then by Alfred A. Meyer
I Was A Champion Then: Twelve stories about quiet injustice, small rebellions and restless hope is an intriguing compilation though, at times, a bit confusing. Christopher Paul Meyer discovered a collection of his father, Alfred A. Meyer’s, writings that had never been published. Christopher selected twelve of them – mostly penned in the mid-1960s – and did what his father wanted for so long. He published them. As the editor of I Was A Champion Then, Christopher shares insight into Alfred and his life-long desire to be a writer. He did have some success during his lifetime, but never achieved the bigger fame he worked so hard for. Now, Christopher is trying to give him that chance by sharing some of the writings in this book. It is a mixed collection of short stories including stories with a focus on sports, stories of racial bias, stories that hint at rebelliousness and more. The stories are not connected and do not, for the most part, carry any common threads. Yet each one, if you take a closer look at it and the time to reflect upon it, has compelling depth. At the beginning of many of the stories, Christopher shares a brief editorial to give the reader a bit more information around that particular selection. Each story can be read quickly and easily, but if you do that you will miss the profound message that is seemingly in between the lines. One example is On The Bridge. In this one page story, a milestone has seemingly been met. With some bridges no longer available as the main character mentions high school ending, he or she is on the bridge to adulthood and new beginnings. Reflecting back the character suggests it could have been different. What do you suppose this means for his or her future?
There is a heartwarming feel to the book if for no other reason than that of a son editing and sharing his father’s dream. I Was a Champion Then is well written and offers the reader a door to go inside and explore his or her own past, his or her own views, and his or her own future. Read these stories more than once because if you don’t, you may feel confused and lost. Give them a chance to touch your heart and soul. Alfred Meyer’s writing style is one that will make you stop and think. His style flows gracefully so that you may see and feel in a way you may not have considered before. His eloquent and colorful descriptions will make you want to read the next story. By editing and publishing Alfred Meyer’s writings, Christopher Meyer has created a beautiful book of nearly poetic reflection and shared a gem that may, otherwise, have been lost forever.
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