‘Remedies’ by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Remedies by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, 2019

The magic trick:

Showing our protagonist acting in a cruel but understandable way

The Sabrina And Corina collection is filled with children who need better adults in their lives.

“Remedies” is maybe the best – and saddest – example.

Clarisa’s father left the family when she was young. He is not a good man; an absent father. His decisions leave grief and pain and loss and confusion and (especially) anger for Clarisa and her mother to deal with every single day.

So in this story, we see that grief and pain and loss and confusion and anger take the form of a young boy. Clarisa meets her half-brother, Harrison – also abandoned by the same father but also cursed with a drug-addled mother.

Clarisa can’t stand Harrison. He – and the headlice that he infects her with – represents everything she hates about her father, her family, her situation.

It’s a complicated thing for the reader to take in – clearly at once understandable but also unnecessarily cruel to the boy.

It certainly makes the emotions of the situation feel tangible.

And that’s quite a trick on Fajardo-Anstine’s part.

The selection:

Grandma Estrella said, “Doesn’t Tiffany look gorgeous this week? Why don’t you grow your hair like that, mija? A girl’s hair should always be long.”

I looked at the ends of my brown hair. “It quits growing after my shoulders.”

“Nonsense. I know some herbs you can make into a tea.”

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