Sep 23, 09
Read in September, 2009
You know, you'd think that knowing the end would make the rest of it easier to swallow. You'd think the shock factor would be taken down at least three notches. At least.
Instead, knowing what was going to happen made the mundane opening details even more awful. Even more disturbing. This story leaves me with this disgusted feeling inside. I'm bothered that I'm bothered by it and I'm having a hard time fathoming that this sort of thing has actually happened. Perhaps not in this specific way (or maybe it has?), but the end result is the same, isn't it? If human cruelty and barbarism can only really be as bad as we can imagine it to be, then we're fucked. I wish I could remember my reaction to this story the first time I read it (junior high? high school?). I don't think I got the importance.
I think I much preferred the other stories in this collection. Jackson had such a wonderful voice and ability. If nothing else can be said about them, these stories were written well. I really enjoyed the recurring themes involving housewives and their day to day activities. I think Jackson takes an otherwise ignored piece of America and throws it into the spotlight.
I really enjoyed The Villager, in which a woman going to look at furniture impersonates the furniture's actual owner and shows it to another prospective buyer. I thought it was absurdly clever and perfectly done. Like Mother Used to Make and Flower Garden were the other two that really stand out to me.
I like Shirley Jackson. I like her unique perspectives and her willingness to go places others have not. The only reasons I deducted a star from this collection were the tone and voice. It was easy to tell that each of these stories was penned by the same person. They all invoke the same sort of feelings and there seemed to be little variation amongst the protagonists.