"All Boy" is about a family, mother, father, and a precocious eleven-year old son, Harold, and housekeeper, Mrs. Norman, in which the father desires to come "out of the closet" and Harold wants to return to the closet in which Mrs. Norman put him while she watched her soap operas. The structure of this story is its strength, I think.
"All Boy" was first published in the New England Review and subsequently in The Best American Short Stories, 2010.
I like the story. No one is different at the end of the story, except that the father has admitted that he is gay and moves out. We see a family disintegrate which was already in trouble because Mr. Lundstrom, a banker, married a woman, which was against his nature. The story takes place in 1976 which is only referred to once concerning a Halloween party. I find Mr. Lundstrom particularly brave and honest given the time frame.
My favorite sentence about Harold: "He did not feel that he was being dishonest because he cared deeply about grammar and would have gone on using 'may' even without such incentives." It doesn't sound as funny isolated here but in the context of the story, it's hilarious and great.
Ostlund's web page
Ostlund reads "All Boy" on Vimeo
NPR, Richard Russo talks about "All Boy"
blog about Lori Ostlund
Short Review, Q&A with Ostlund
Short Stories All the Time
- Ann Graham
- Here you'll find a few of my thoughts about over 725 short stories.
I am more than pleased to announce that my story, "Vera, Vera," will be published in the next issue of The Oddville Press. Download entire beautifully organized issues. The stories are touching, disturbing, and always revealing of human nature.
Read "Going Postal," in DIGGING THROUGH THE FAT | ripping out the heart.
I also have a creative writing prompt book, READY, SET, GO WRITE! 1st edition at iBookstore and 2nd edition at Amazon.
LINK to my short video fiction pieces.