Despite a cover page reticent of something written for school-aged children, S.B. Boughton’s “Wiley’s Grocery” is anything but. Borrowing elements that has made “South Park,” “Mallrats” and “Adventure Island” so popular, “Wiley’s Grocery” is a series of short stories that are clearly written for the adult reader and touches upon themes that do not tend to fill the pages of today’s popular fiction.
Set in a grocery store where there is no shortage of strange shoppers and odd predicaments, Boughton does not shy away from depicting the less lustrous characters often comprising the most recent New York Times bestseller. Ky, Chad, Stephaney and Veron are the main characters that happen to find Wiley’s Grocery as their place of employment. Unsurprisingly, the characters aren’t particularly enthralled by their jobs, nor are they content with their stereotypically mentally unbalanced manager.
Each of the stories that Boughton has written takes menial plot points (i.e. an overactive bladder, a crazed stalker, etc) and injects humour into what would otherwise be rather dire circumstances. Ky, Chad, Stephaney and Veron are all flawed characters that have resigned to their current lot in life. Always finding themselves begrudgingly back as a defective team of super heroes, the characters are succinct in their points of view and sometimes witty banter. Reading “Wiley’s Grocery” allowed me to visualize a current take on Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” and Winona Ryder’s “Reality Bites.” It’s a time capsule of a cast of characters that will always be working at your local grocery store of Wal-Mart – and that’s what makes the story so easy to read.