I would say that the title of this story is very misleading, or perhaps it is ironic, because there is very little about this tale that is plain.
But plain is how Essy sees herself. When we meet her she has just been discharged from a psychiatric hospital where she had been ‘living’ for reasons that are, to begin with anyway, unknown.
As this short story progresses we are shown more insight into Essy’s troubled past and her perception of reality.
Daughter of one hell of an evil woman, Essy has been put down her whole life by her domineering mother. They fuck you up, your parents, as they say. And Essy is certainly fucked. Up.
All she has in her life is her best friend, Sarah, someone she met in the hospital and someone she hopes to see again very soon.
The narrative of this story skips between the present day, Essy’s growing up, her time in the institution, and that fateful day that drove her to become a resident there. But instead of these differing timelines being confusing, the whole thing flows seamlessly and fully presents the character of Essy in an extremely short space of time.
Some of the scenes are depicted in such graphic detail it was difficult to not smell the rotten decay, or feel the terror bestowed upon poor Essy. Told in the third person it still reads like the memoir of an unreliable narrator, if that makes sense.
As the story progressed I began to realise just what was going on. But I don’t feel this is because I’m some sort of reading genius who can spot twists way ahead of time. No, it is almost like the story is leading you down a path you really wish it wasn’t and you read on just hoping that your instincts are wrong.
But alas, you can’t turn around. You’re in for the duration, sucker!!
I seem to be saying this all the time now, but this is another excellent addition to the Short Sharp Shocks! series and I can’t wait to read more of them.
Categories: book review