Thursday, October 13, 2011

On "No Mess Allowed" by Maria Kusnetsova (7750 words) ***

I knew where this story was going to go about 10 percent of the way in, but that seemed okay. What drew me to the story was the narrator. Kusnetsova does something that isn't easy here. She tells the story from the point of view of a middle schooler, but also from the point of view of someone much older looking back on that time in life. The second point of view, however, is mostly in the background, so we mostly feel as if we are in this twelve/thirteen-year-old's head.

The story is about friendships, the way that they fall away from us as we age. I'm reminded of something an acquaintance of mine once said, how friends were only made to last a few years. I've been blessed with a few that have lasted decades, but on the whole, that observation is correct. As we age, our interests change and our priorities as well. Beyond that, circumstances change. Friends from work, for example, aren't so much friends anymore once work isn't held in common, except in a few rare cases. We move on. And yet, we also grieve, and that's what this story is about. Read it here at Summerset Review.

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