Poison Reality: A Symphony of Bittersweet
Nedyne Shorts-Nettles

PublishAmerica 2009


186 pages

Reader’s Choice Rating 4 Stars.


Book Description:

Vierna Bates, a woman scorned, finds herself staying in a hotel the local newspaper labels “a rape den.” She decides to stop moaning her pending divorce and venture to go downstairs to the club. As fate would have it something held the elevator door opened. As she got closer, she saw the limbs of a person. This began a kaleidoscope of events. The woman Vierna helped was an old classmate named Terry Trainer. Terry, a student of Wallerton College, was attending a travel and tourism convention. Terry’s life now presents purpose and she vows to live every day to the fullest. Terry will not rest until she finds her attacker, had her attacker been a friend or foe. Captain Bill Meays, a handsome investigator, finds himself enthralled in a significant case that involves several women acquaintances. One woman in particular holds the key to solving the puzzle but time is not on his side. This is a spellbinding, heart-stopping saga echoing the poison reality of life. Life isn’t always harmonious but it is a symphony of bittersweet.


The Review:


Poison Reality: A Symphony of Bittersweet is a book full of poison. Within its pages, we are introduced to rapists, alcoholics, adulterers and murderers. Nedyne Shorts-Nettles set out to show how a life that is started with bad treatment continues on that path indefinitely until the individual decides to diverge into goodness.


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A few examples: we have Greg, who cheats on his wife, Vierna, and ends up marrying the “other woman” while still married to Vierna. His illegal wife, Melissa, is brutally murdered and discarded, putting Greg into a catatonic state. Terry is raped brutally while at a hotel for a travel seminar.  The rape results in a pregnancy and AIDS. However, Terry finds God in the midst of her misery and eventually unknowingly befriends her rapist. Skeets is hoping to join a gang. While performing the initiation act of stealing a car, he unknowingly takes the car with Melissa’s body in it, and is therefore charged with her murder. He is raped and killed in prison. 


Shorts-Nettles seems to lay a little heavy on the unfortunate choices people make or the circumstances that occur to them. While I know she is just trying to emphasize how bad begets bad, the numerous bad occurrences seemed to reach beyond “reality”. One of the last scenes in the book, while highly dramatic, just didn’t seem plausible. Shorts-Nettles does have a lot of interesting ideas that weave together the various characters in this book. However, I did find it a bit confusing to keep track of the number.


I did find the time that the stories are set in to be fascinating – the dawn of AIDS in America, when we didn’t know how people got and transmitted the disease. While this time in history was not so long ago that it was before my “time”, it was long enough ago that we can look back with a sense of wonder at what we didn’t know was yet to come and change.


Overall, I liked this book and I would recommend it to readers who also enjoy soap operas.  This book was written in that style, with very quick scenes that rotate throughout characters quickly.  While I don’t usually watch soap operas, I did enjoy this technique, as I was able to refresh my palate with a different story every few pages. 



Nedyne Shorts-Nettles grew up in Los Angeles, California, in a family of three children. She attended Cal State Northridge for three years right out of high school. She is currently attending Argosy University where she will finish her bachelor’s in psychology. Nedyne and her husband Kevin reside in San Bernardino, California, where they have lived for ten years. She is a nurse at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. She is very proud be able to present her novel to the world.