Looking For A Thief by Danielle Lazarin, 2018
The magic trick:
Highlighting the complicated aspects of identity as a parent
As a parent of a too-young-to-get-vaccinated-yet toddler in year two of the COVID pandemic, reading this it was hard not to just laugh. My goodness, how easy was it raising kids in 2018, or whatever pre-pandemic world this story is set in. You thought you had problems then??!?!? Just wait!
Of course that’s not fair. But this story is a great example of the way COVID has so harshly separated our experiences on this planet into pre-pandemic and pandemic. Will there ever be a post-pandemic? I’m writing this in January 2022, and the feeling right now is I’m not sure.
Anyway, all that depressing stuff aside, this is a very good story and its pre-pandemic point of view is more than valid. In fact, I’d argue its point of view is the thing that makes the story special in the first place.
It puts the reader in the headspace of a mother who is exhausted, frustrated, depressed. Oh, she’s a martyr! Well, no, not exactly. She acts selfishly, maybe even recklessly; she dreams of not being a mother sometimes. Oh, she’s the worst person on the planet! Nope, not at all.
It’s just a story about those weird gray places we all fall into sometimes, where we’re not who we want to be but can’t help it. This story has the courage to showcase that, even as we often work to hide those failures.
And that’s quite a trick on Lazarin’s part.
The split lips, the scrapes, the bloody noses, … that beautiful, red Hansel and Gretel crumb trail from the boys’ bedroom to theirs, Wesley screaming, his face pressed into her nightshirt ‘til they were both covered. The next morning she woke up and walked the path
Back to his bedroom with a damp washcloth, useless against what he’d smeared with the back of his hand on the grain of the wallpaper they’d always planned to remove.
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