If You Can't Come In, Smile As You Go By
Seeking to characterize and to vitalize life in a small, rural Texas community as it existed during the Depression, Cindy Holster has introduced in ten short stories a number of characters whose lives reflect not only the hard times they experienced but the various ways in which they dealt with them. While the stories touch on a number of issues that might be considered contemporary or even timeless—racism, mental illness, infidelity, ignorance, and intolerance—they also emphasize Christian values and morality.
Many of the characters are recurring within the stories, and some emerge as leaders. Walter and Ora Mae Cooper and their son Benjamin are identifiable by their character and compassion, and the Cooper Grocery is revisited again and again as the heart of the community. The Coopers repeatedly reach out to the members of their community and are sought out for counsel, solace, and friendship. The characters are colorful, even eccentric, and all have surprising and sometimes unsettling aspects to their lives.