Review by Gillian: Gotta Dance With the One Who Brung Ya, by Jon McDonald

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Gotta Dance With The One Who Brung Ya, by Jon McDonald
A Short Story Collection
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 20, 2016

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


In 19th century Boston, a handsome young tutor finds himself the object of more attention than he can comfortably handle. In post-World War Two Japan, a retired serviceman looks back on his forbidden love for a fellow pilot. In Miami, a gay detective pits his wits against a cunning fraudster. And a harassed career woman discovers that all manner of mishaps can befall you if you neglect to brush your teeth…

This collection of 18 short stories, by turns humorous, poignant and chilling, explores the lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters as they search for acceptance in a world that doesn’t always understand them.


M/M Pairings
Gay Characters and Themes
Short Stories
Literary Fiction

Warnings For:
Some stories contain scenes of graphic violence.


Admittedly, I don’t read many short story collections as they aren’t really my thing. I always feel like I’m just getting into the storyline before it suddenly ends and I have to switch gears and get used to a new set of characters. So, it took a few stories before I got into the rhythm of things. Once I did though, I started to settle in and enjoy myself.

This is a rather odd collection of 18 stories that seem so different, but are all connected in some way. Mostly it’s about the human experience, about love, friendship and loss and how we all experience these things in a similar fashion no matter where we live, who we love, or who we are. This collection contains mostly gay themes and the stories range from coming-of-age to mid-life love to golden years regrets and everything in between. There is lots of humour here, but a few of the stories are dark and quite melancholy – really there’s something for everybody.

A few of the standout stories in this collection were:

Fly Boys:  An elderly Japanese man fondly recalls his doomed romance with an Air Force buddy while quietly going about his day-to-day activities with his wife and family. This touching story weaves together the past and the present as Haruki must deal with the reality of aging while clinging on to a long ago memory where he and his lover are forever young.

You Are A Winner!:  Set sometime in the 1950’s, an 8 yr old boy hooked on radio programmes convinces his mother to enter a contest where the first prize is a trip to Hollywood. While dodging his father’s attempts to lure him into sportier activities, the young lad learns that winning isn’t everything – in fact, it might be better if you didn’t win at all.

Why You Must Brush Your Teeth:  A humorous look at a woman’s Worst Day Ever that started off bad and when downhill all because she didn’t brush her teeth. If you’ve ever been told to make sure you wear clean underwear when you leave the house, this story may resonate with you!

Overall, I enjoyed this quirky collection of stories. There were a couple of stories that didn’t work for me at all, but on the whole they were really well done and I would be interested in reading more from this author.

As an author, Jon’s mission is to provide readers with stories that delight and entertain so they can enjoy a pleasurable respite from their busy day to day lives. Readers describe turning the last page of McDonald’s books not only feeling completely satisfied, but also wanting more.

Jon McDonald lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Buy Gotta Dance With the One Who Brung Ya from:


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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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