Snapshots at St.Arbuck's by R.G. Ryan

Reviewed by Miranda Krebbs

If you are a fan of R.G. Ryan’s blog, you’ll not be disappointed by his compilation of stories told from his favorite seat in the corner of a coffee shop.  After reading Snapshots at St. Arbuck’s, I have no doubt that there is a “Saint” of St. Arbuck’s incarnated in R.G. Majestically he reigns over his favorite cafe, as the clientele there provides him a glimpse into the human soul.

In his book, R.G gets to the heart of precious moments with candor and wit. He invests his time observing people and finding beauty in their everyday lives. He not only tells touching tales about them, he gives each of them their own voice.  Listen and you’ll hear them – the sigh of estranged lovers or dejected seniors, the tone of love a single mother has for her child, a soldier’s pain at leaving his family for war, the blooming notes of happen-chance love.

At face value, these are thoughtful, poignant moments interlaced with comedy, joy and introspection about his own life. (For instance, his humorous horror at finding himself improperly attired in his bedroom slippers at St. Arbuck’s).

Read deeper, however, and it’s obvious that R.G. has a unique talent for capturing true emotions in a simple way. He does so as a quiet hero, waiting, with java in hand, to come to the rescue of coffee drinkers just like himself.  Shy, would-be lovers find a connection with R.G.’s gentle encouragement, an overwhelmed father of three gets assistance from R.G., as he juggles coffee and solo parenting for the first time. In short, the simple act of engaging with people who are enjoying their beverages teaches R.G. about the colorful beauty of life in our daily routines. And he passes that knowledge onto us.

The author himself sums it up best: “This book is a sort of ‘chicken soup for the caffeine crowd.’ Random snapshots of real life, real people as viewed through the eyes of hope.”

Grab your favorite brew and read Snapshots with a open heart. You’ll be surprised at your outbursts of laughter, and the fact that you’re shedding a tear or two. And if you’re lucky enough to find R.G. at one of his favorite St.  Arbucks, order him a “medium coffee, with room for cream,” and pat him on the back. You could find yourself in his second volume of stories.

Buy Snapshots at St. Arbucks

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