Breakfast and a Cigarette: A Novella in Four Directions - Bill McLaughlin
Ray Waldron is a man whose marriage is in the midst of disintegrating, unemployed because he has abandoned a job he hates, drowning in debt and facing foreclosure. He decides to just chuck it all and walk away from the consumerism that we are all supposed to aspire to. He finds a much more fulfilling existence as a wandering homeless person, temporarily connecting with others like himself and finding the good in humanity as the people he meets share what little they have with him.

This was a very promising idea for a story, but for me, it just didn't work. I was absolutely unable to connect, and therefore empathize, with Ray. I connect with people in a completely different way from what is depicted. I couldn't just walk away from everyone I know, cut off all communication with them like Ray did. My family and close friends are my lifeline. I could not walk away from them, and they would never allow me to reach a point where I felt that walking away from everything was a viable option.

Also, Mr. McLaughlin seemed to be trying too hard to show us how dysfunctional our society is and as a result, I felt the story was a little too preachy. I know there is much wrong with our society. We place value on the wrong things, we're too concerned with accumulation of possessions, we teach our children from infancy that we have to hurryhurryhurry to finish what we're doing because we have to hurryhurryhurry to get to something else afterward, without ever stopping to think about why we have to hurryhurryhurry to do things we really don't want to. But the solution posed in this novella is way too extreme and will likely make many readers uncomfortable.