‘Army of One’ Author Shares Stories and Insight with Students


Jessica Jas

WRITER SPEAKS: Janet Sarbanes signs a student’s copy of “Army of One,” top, and answers questions from the audience at an author reading and Q & A on Friday, April 8 at the Student Center.

Jessica Jas

Hearts and minds were captured as Janet Sarbanes, author of “Army of One,” read excerpts from her short story collection on April 8 at the Student Center.

“Each short story connected with each other and though they were unique, I was able to relate with several of the characters and create deep connections,” Jose Ruiz, sociology major, said.

He sat in the front row, excited to hear how Sarbanes was able to develop such a well-written masterpiece.

The primary theme of both isolation and surrounding oneself with people was found in this collection of 10 short stories. The writing style displays the author’s talent of creating a unique structure of the story from beginning to end without a complex plot.

The short stories alternate between reality and fantasy. The story involving “Aunt Sophie” is a grand example that takes a look into alien encounters. Sarbanes was able to create a diverting look into alien abductions and interstellar personal contact in a humorous way.

In “The Making of Wild Child,” she satirizes the social standard of married life in Hollywood. She takes a feminist stance and is all for the equality and natural rights of women, adding unique stories of feral children, as well as Western desert towns.

With the flow of each story, readers are able to grasp the connection with the characters. It is easily displayed how each story was crafted and completed, with a great balance of imaginative and existent events.
“I felt the format of the book was different from other books, it was not only enjoyable to read but it also allowed me to feel the characters’ emotions,” Luis Ruiz said he is considering majoring in English.

Sarbanes read a 20-minute portion of her book, and answered questions about herself and the collection of short stories. Students were engaged and several wanted to know more about such events in her life that allowed her to write these stories.

“Coming to this book reading will allow me to get a better perspective on what inspired her to write it,” said Aline Khanbabian, a veterinary science major, as she listened attentively to Sarbanes.

Sarbanes revealed that a lot of her writing was based on a reality of her own life that was filled with isolation. She elaborates on living in solitude, and how crucial it felt to be alone, leaving human sociability behind.

She said she believes that such events occurred so she could share them through the power of writing.

“I hope students leave this book reading knowing the essence of how reading and writing are both a place of possibilities, and to focus in a little bit on what it means to be alone and what it means to be with people,” Sarbanes said.

“Army of One” is available for purchase on spdbooks.org and Amazon.com.