Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Victory Lap" and "Sticks" by George Saunders

I'm cheating, and I hate to do it, but I haven't been able to finish the book I have been reading since December, and I feel bad that this was going to be the second week in a row without a book review, so I am going to talk about two short stories I've recently read.

These stories come from George Saunders's Tenth of December, and I am reading this collection of short stories for a book club I have joined at school.

"Victory Lap"
This story is about 25 pages long, and it has three different viewpoints.  The story is about a girl who gets kidnapped, and her neighbor saves her.  It was crazy because her kidnapper literally knocked on her door and then dragged her to his van.  The story is told by the girl, her neighbor, and her kidnapper.  The kidnapper definitely has some mental illness that made him believe what he was doing was okay.  He also mentions some man named Kenny, but the reader doesn't know who he is.  The girl's neighbor comes from a strict household, and he doesn't know if he should help his neighbor or just turn an eye to it.  He does decide to help, and he actually kills the kidnapper.  However, after the fact, both he and the girl are traumatized, and even though their parents tell them what they did was okay and that it saved her life, they both went through such a harrowing experience that they don't really care that the death was justified.

There was no given reason why the girl was chosen to be kidnapped.  She didn't appear to be anything special, just your typical teenage girl, but she was chosen before the kidnapping happened.  I think Saunders gets across that not everything that happens to us is for a concrete reason.  Sometimes we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the wrong person sees us.  The boy was taught by his parents to do things a certain way and mind his own business that he hesitates when he sees his neighbor in trouble, but when he does decide to help he acts completely out of passion and doesn't consider the consequences.  Obviously, the death was justified because it saved the girl, but it happened so quickly that the boy didn't have time to think of what it meant for him until it was over.

This story is about a page and a half long, and it's a man's reflection of a pole that was outside his childhood home.  His father used to dress up the pole depending on holidays or events that happened in his life.  This man was basically obsessed with this pole and when he died, and the house sold the new family ripped out the pole and threw it away.

We all have things that have value to us in ways that they don't have value to anyone else, or we know what other people value.  However, when something only has value to one person, it's easy for another person to come around and get rid of it, and everyone else can only sit back and watch.  That's what happened in this story.  This pole that was around for everything a man went through was simply a stick to someone else.

Again, I'm sorry that this isn't a real book review and I hope I won't have to do too many more of these, but I just don't have many books here at school that is really grabbing my interest.  What books are you guys currently reading?

Smile!  I'll talk to you soon!xxx


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