“Missing Rib” by Alex Clermont

By Ekta R. Garg

Rated: Borrow it

A man helps a friend who begs for a favor and spends the day thinking about life and love.  When he finds himself attracted to the bride at the wedding where he’s pinch-hitting as a groomsman, the man realizes the right formula for love depends on the correct mix of ingredients.  New author Alex Clermont brings readers this story in his short story, “Missing Rib.”

Andrew McCarthy recently broke up with his girlfriend and feels miserable.  So he does what any guy does: he puts up a front while he spends all his time moping in his apartment.  He thinks the front has worked until his friend, Donald, calls his bluff and then asks for his help.  Donald’s cousin is getting married within a matter of hours, and one of the groomsman has done something monumentally stupid that has landed him jail.  Because Andrew and the wayward groomsman wear the same size tux, Donald says, would Andrew mind much standing up for the groom?

Even though watching two people commit to a lifetime of eternal bliss sounds as exciting as a root canal to Andrew, he knows he can’t leave Donald hanging.  Donald has always stood by Andrew, and it’s time to return the gesture of friendship.  Plus, Andrew has always enjoyed spending time with Donald’s family, and this opportunity for a pick-me-up by engaging with them sounds too good to pass up.  Despite the early-morning hour and his disturbed sleep, Andrew agrees to help.

The day unfolds in the general positive chaos surrounding a wedding, and slowly Andrew finds himself offering to lend a hand in a variety of situations.  One of those errands involves acting as a chauffeur for the bride, and Andrew begins a friendly conversation with the young woman.  As Andrew talks to her throughout the day, he begins to understand that sometimes the circumstances don’t have to be perfect in order to find “the one.”

Author Alex Clermont zips through his story without letting the action sag.  At the same time, he manages to balance real-world emotions with the demands of fiction.  Andrew finds time during the day to maintain a pleasant composure for the benefit of the wedding guests and also reflect on his own life, noting the irony between his current dating situation and the reason for which Donald needs his help.  Clermont presents the story with deft and avoids a melodramatic ending.

The one drawback to “Missing Rib” comes in the form of the commitment made in its marketing materials, ironically enough.  Clermont promises a “day…filled with events, both tragic and funny.”  While readers may smile at certain points of the pleasant story nothing in it evokes an audible laugh, and certainly nothing in the entire tale rises to the label of “tragic.”  Realization of life truths?  Yes.  Tragic?  Most definitely not.

Regardless, Clermont’s story will provide readers with a certain amount of amusement in exchange for less than an hour’s worth of their time.  This reviewer recommends “Missing Rib” for that element, if nothing else.


What the ratings mean:

Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection.  It’s definitely worth it!

Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Bypass it–Free time is precious.  Don’t spend it on this book!

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