The Ball Washer
by Lance Manion
Genre: Adult, Humor, Short Story Anthology
The Ball Washer is a collection of short stories beginning with some lighthearted tales and then delving into very personal, graphic, and sometimes shocking themes. Some stories tell of boys who can erase the universe with paint, and others read like a masturbation recipe.
Not often do I come across a work that I admire, but don’t really enjoy. The Ball Washer is that book. As a parent of two boys, I have my fill of off-color jokes and disgusting humor. You can understand why I wouldn’t want to read it in a book, or really hear it at all, anywhere. In a home where flatulence passes as music in more than one person’s opinion, I just can’t enjoy it.
On the other hand, Ball Washer is incredibly well-written and cerebral for all its baseness. The contrast is rather fantastic. Lance takes the very graphic and often embarrassing parts of life and opens them wide for all to see. That is a kind of bravery in writing that not many authors can claim. The tales consist of some choice malarkey as well as a tongue firmly in cheek. A reader will discover such quotes as: “Originating in Kashmir, velvet painting is an ancient technique embraced by early religious leaders, and to this day many early works hang in the Vatican.”
My only non-personal criticism for the book is that it seems entirely too long. After six or seven stories, I checked to see how many more stories I had, and found I hadn’t even made it halfway through. At 74,000 words it could have easily worked as at least two separate anthologies, in my opinion. When I looked through some other anthologies available online, the only comparably-sized one was an anthology of novellas.
A few epically long sentences appear through the narratives. Nothing in them appeared incorrect; just don’t try to read the long ones out loud without first sitting down in case of an oxygen-deprivation nap.
I couldn’t finish The Ball Washer, both because of the length and the subject matter. I made it halfway. That doesn’t mean it won’t have merit for other readers, and one definitely gets plenty of well-written stories for their money. For me it provided TMI, but you just might LOL.