I was shuffling through my Kindle today trying to find something quick and easy to read (because I’m being knocked on my ass by a 700 page book about the fashion world in the 50’s) when I stumbled upon these 2 short stories. At first glance they look different. Alarmingly different actually, so I’m sure you are wondering why I am featuring them in the same article. Easy. They are the same train of thought brought to life in two very different ways. One is a contemporary look at one woman’s life, her choices, and her priorities; while the other is the same concept wrapped up in a slightly sadistic horror short. Both make a point, but the way they reach it is drastically different. I’ll introduce you to both, you feel free to make up your mind from there. Happy Reading!
The Glass Case by Kristin Hannah
In her classic short story THE GLASS CASE, Kristin Hannah explores the heart and mind of a young mother. April Bannerman is a young mother of three, married to her high school sweetheart & living in the same small town in which she grew up. Although she loves her children and husband, April is plagued by the growing doubt that she has not lived up to her mother’s expectations for her—until one day when something terrible and unexpected happens, and April must face the truth about her own life and discover what really matters.
Kristin Hannah is known for “chick lit” and “The Glass Case” is no exception. But while many authors skate around reality, (mounds of laundry and a husband who is constantly asking “What’s for dinner?”) Hannah goes right for the jugular…introducing her lead character (April) in the very words that define most stay at home mothers.
“Like many young mothers, I am overworked, underpaid, and in serious need of a makeup intervention.”
Doing this (smart smart girl) she instantly endears the female audience to her story. We no longer feel alone in our thoughts of loneliness. We realize that we have all given up a piece of ourselves for our families, and we are comforted when the reigns of guilt are loosened from carrying the burdens of our parents expectations.
It’s through brilliantly sculpted internal dialogue that Hannah (and by Hannah I mean April) makes mothers everywhere finally feel normal. And as a result it allows us to let go and focus on what’s really important.
The story is not particularly sad, (though it has it’s sad moments) but it is (for mothers at least) a knuckle clinching ride into the wide world of priorities. What happens when you lose focus of the things you love, and how to find peace where you least expect it.
Enjoyable quick read.
Dark Water: Beaming Smile by Kevin James Breaux
Sarah should have left Montgomery County when she had the chance, but now it’s too late. She is trapped on the rooftop of her family home which is almost completely submerged by dark flood waters. The air smells of a mixture of sewage and mold and it’s still raining. Alone with only her thoughts Sarah is mad she did not leave town years ago when she was right out of high school, before she became the one things she dreaded most; her mother.
Haunted by the re-occurrence of an eerie thumping sound, Sarah is startled when she discovers a large hairy animal, almost the size of a cow, brushing against the corner of her house. What is it? Where did it come from? What other horrors are hiding in the dark water?
Unlike “The Glass Case” the lead in Breaux’s story (Sarah) takes a different route. The path of least resistance, which to her is avoidance and denial. Sarah’s homelife is strangling her, (or so she says) and clinging to the fear that she will forever be a carbon copy of her mother she makes dreadful choices. Choices that leave her stranded on top of house while dark waters and guilt raise around her.
Priorities are not on her to-do list, getting out is. The trials that surrounds Sarah’s “escape” are what form the plot in the incredibly creepy short story.
The most impressive element to Dark Water is Breaux homage to Poe’s “The Tale Tale Heart” which may or not may be intentional, but is prominent all the same.
Now, while both stories took a “mystical” turn, (in the end) Dark Water takes the cake in the WTH! column adding an unforeseen element in the end that even I didn’t see coming. (A very hair unforeseen element.)
In short…if you like Gothic literature or stories that can morph from normal to weird in approximately 5 seconds, this might just be the story for you.
Interesting plot, interesting characters, fantastic ending.