Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Such Thing as The Real World: Stories About Growing up and Getting a Life by various

A short story collection with some big names and stories with big things going on in them. There were three stories that really struck me and I am going to talk about those individually. Don’t read this if you don’t want ***spoilers***.

Complication by An Na

I had to read this one twice. On my first read through I wondered about Fay, the girl who goes to clubs and ends up somehow picking up her dead boyfriend’s brother, which is kind of convenient since she has plans to blackmail him. I did wonder, “what kind of club is she going too?” And I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that even after my second read I still didn’t know. I’m going to say it’s probably a sign of my vastly boring and sheltered life that I couldn’t figure it.

“She may be young, but she has lived long enough to know, shackles come in many forms.”

That line really tied the story together for me. Except that in her plans to blackmail him she opened herself up to much more serious shackles. You know…like jail? That aside, there was an emotional intensity to this story that really appealed to me.

The Projection: A Two-Part Invention by M.T. Anderson

Color me impressed. I loved this story, it was my stand out favorite of the bunch. I loved that it jumped around and made you guess and by the end there still isn’t a clear answer as to what is going on. Is it just two drama students (one who may be a stalker and completely unhinged) improvising? Or is it a futuristic tale where a husband created projections of himself before his death and the wife is able to speak with a pre-programmed hologram? Which is it??? Fun, fun, fun. I loved the banter and I loved the unresolved storyline.

Survival by K.L. Going

Another extremely strong story. Rachel tells us about how she can never quite measure up to her sister. Her sister is the golden child, the beloved twirler, the beautiful, the perfect…the complete sociopath. This is actually never mentioned, but I think it is true. Rachel always wanted to be like her sister, but when it gets to be too much she tries to break out on her own. She joins track – her sister joins track. She likes a boy – her sister gets the boy. Maybe she’s just a terrible older sister, but in my opinion SOCIOPATH!!!

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