The Importance of Good Roots

Author: Richard M. Grove

Title: The Importance of Good Roots

ISBN: 978-1-897475-97-3 = 9781897475973

Trade Paperback: 100 pages – 6 X 9 

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95

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50 words:

The Importance of Good Roots is a fine collection of short stories and poetry with the feature, 8 chapter story titled, The Importance of Good Roots. These thoughtprovoking stories are about survival and the ties of family and friends and the sometimes not so deep roots that bind people together.

90 words

Dip into this collection of short stories, a novella, and a few poems. Feel the sun on your face while you walk through the complex lives of different characters. Here are people who have had terrible things done to them, but come out of their past forgiving and loving. The Importance of Good Roots is a book for readers who have come through the tunnel of darkness. These are rich, deep stories and poems that celebrate life. A wonderful sequel to Grove’s book, Psycho Babble and the Consternations of Life.


Richard M. (Tai) Grove’s collection of short stories and poems, encapsulates both image and imagination. Some of the writing within contains analogy pointing to the parallels of the seeming differences between things and of how those lines meld and melt. The novella at the book’s end is captivating, philosophical and metaphorical.

Bruce Kauffman,
poet, editor, writer, spoken word radio host,
author of three books of poetry.

Here is a collection of poems, short fiction and a novella. Most of the poems celebrate the beauty of nature in an adult and detailed way. Grove’s poetry is accessible, beautifully crafted and memorable. The images and words stay with the reader.

In Cemetery Walk we are walking through a cemetery, surrounded by decay and death, but at the same time there is the fullness of life and time filled with love.

Leaves under November foot

crunch as I meander, camera poised

through a century of listing slabs

pitted white granite,

time-stained grey.

Again in Haley’s Comet, he examines the passing of time and how man lives with the knowledge that he will die. The celebration of life balancing the certain knowledge of death and the past full of pain, is a recurring theme.

If I see you before I am one-hundred and nine

it may be because I have joined

with you, at one with the solar system.

Maybe my coma of dust and gas will match

your hundreds of thousands of miles of

sun lit glory as we dash around mother sun

in forever orbit.

It is the novella, ‘The Importance of Good Roots’, which is the core of this collection, exploring the life of a child who was cruelly abused, yet grows into an adult with compassion and love in his heart. The adult meets his abuser and does not tell him who he is, but helps him and sends him on his way. It is tightly written and uses the novella form to perfection. He acknowledges the past, embraces it and used it to become a good person.

The writing is tight and detailed. We get to know the two men in this novella and also the horribly abused mother of one of the men. Even the grandmother, who is a monster, is given dignity in her own way. 

There is playfulness in many of the short stories. They leave the reader feeling that the day will be good and that there is hope.

A well-balanced collection, good for dipping into or to digest in a single sitting. There is a rhythm and wave in the collection that tempts a single sitting read.

Jennifer Footman,
editor, writer and teacher,
has four collections of poetry and short stories

The Importance of Good Roots, by Richard M. Grove, is an eclectic collection of poems, short stories and a novella that anchors the collection and also provides the book’s title.

The author has a gift for interesting metaphors and colourful imagery, describing subway riders in the poem 5;20 p.m. Toronto as “captured trout in a can.” In Woodstock Invation he writes about seeing an approaching flock of flying geese. “. . . a distant black undulating V/ stitching grey quiet sky/fifty Canadian Geese slowly swelling towards us.”

A theme of family love seems to weave together many of the pieces in this book. I particularly liked A Journey into the Dark, a tender poem about a 15 year old boy revealing the stars in the night sky to his little brother for the first time.

The short story The Grey Dog in the Parking Lot in The Twilight Zone is a clever piece of writing about a driver who seems destined one night to make the same wrong turn at a country intersection over and over again, observed by a “Norwood neon-flickered grey dog” in the parking lot of a coffee shop.

The novella The Importance of Good Roots is a poignant story of family and forgiveness. A young man spends most of his life in a disfunctional family raised by an abusive grandmother. His single mother had taken her life, a product of her own upbringing.  The author does not, however, leave us without hope in the end  Because of his ability to forgive, there is a brighter future for the young man.

Peggy Dymond Leavey, author