Hashes & Bashes, by PJ Colando
Review by Michelle Knowlden
From the hot embers of the first book Stashes, Steve and Jackie return home with son Brandon—less his wife, but not shed of hash or family issues. With local townsfolk, some lovable and some despicable, a stranger arrives from California and embeds himself in Hashes and Bashes. He will not only affect the lives of the Breeden family, but the people of Hiawassee county.
Although cow insemination, fracking, and pot as an ingredient to more than brownies will fascinate, it is the smaller sorrows, hopes, romance, and language in this book that will captivate.
Readers who enjoy an engaging book about the joys, challenges and foibles of family that is told with humor and pathos should order Hashes & Bashes in your next mouse click.
Let me illustrate. From the beginning, we know how Steve feels about the farm and its livestock. “Steve was unalarmed. It was, after all, his dog and his property, long tethered to his soul.” A lovely line of foreshadowing that sent a tremor down my spine.
The language is delicious throughout the novel. Sometimes hilarious, often chock full of small town observation and wisdom. Like this one: “She became the casserole honey that Jackie had warned him about.”
But the characters sold the book for me: pharmacy clerks, diner waitresses, church secretary, best friends in hats, and Ronald Reagan look-alikes with the narrative that unveils each one. Like in this line, “Jackie could relinquish being the go-between, worn out like hall carpet, from years between Brandon and Steve.”
Their grief, dreams, love, and fortitude will comfort and inspire long after you finish the book.
About the Author, PJ Colando
Inspiration for Hashes & Bashes
Like many writers, I write to explore enigmas of the present and past. So, I wrote a short story about vagabonding the US. I never lived on a farm, never bore a son, never shopped WalMart—all integral elements of Stashes, the short story that grew into a book.
The need to add more conflict co-occurred with dispensary intrigue in my office building in Lake Forest. A plot pot emerged.
I wrote the sequel, Hashes & Bashes, because I missed my characters. I never had imaginary friends as a child. Now I have a tribe.
We cherish our Midwestern friends and family who come to stay with us and sightsee, and we return frequently to visit them. Fiction ain’t always fiction, as a matter of fact… I’m having a blast in my encore career, and I hope you will, too, as you read Hashes & Bashes.
Author Website: https://www.pjcolando.com/
Bio: PJ is the author of three novels (including Stashes and Hashes & Bashes), with short stories, personal essays, and articles published in journals, magazines, and anthologies. She’s earned an Erma Bombeck humor award, Reader’s Favorite silver award, and Southern California Writers Conference fiction award.
PJ writes contemporary women’s fiction and has drawn praise for her singular voice, humor and satire on contentious current affairs, and insights into human life. PJ writes funny!
Join her on her Boomer humor blog on her author site: http://www.pjcolando.com.