Thursday, October 22, 2015

On "The Babysitter" by Robert Coover *****

This story, which I read my freshman year of college, blew me away then and still does to this day. I didn't read it for a class. I read it because it was in my textbook for a class, and I read the first line and couldn't stop. I've read other Robert Coover, and none of it compares. This is his climax.

Just a short time after that first read, the story would be adapted into a movie, which I eventually watched and was a shade disappointed in. It's not really a story that lends itself to being adapted. It has no straight through-line in terms of plot, and at the time I first read it, my goal was to try to fit all the disparate pieces together. But of course, Coover isn't intending this. This story is everyone's idea of a babysitter--and so she is sexy, mean, a threat, a nice girl, and much more all at the same time. As we read, plots come into being, some disappearing, others merging into others. It's a world of alternate worlds. If you haven't read this masterpiece, you can find it online here.

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