Short Stories All the Time

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Here are a few of my thoughts about more than 800 short stories.

31 March, 2013

Edith Pearlman, "Honeydew"

Alice Toomey, headmistress of a girls' school, deals with an anorexic high-school junior who wrecks some havoc in Alice's duties and easy running of the school. My favorite thing about this story, well
two things, are the complex dual lives everyone has and the scientific information about the Coccidae, a beetle. Their way of eating and excreting sap at the rate of many times their weight every hour is amazing but not as much as the fact that "...nomads still eat it-relish it. It is called honeydew."

Emily, the intelligent anorexic, is fascinated by insects. Her mother, Ghiselle, looks like a gazelle. Alice in her heavy Celtic look differs from Emily's svelte mother. Emily's father is a physician and anatomy instructor and keeps a cool head about Emily's disease. "Emily must find her own way to continue to live." Her mother, "We can chain her to a bed and ram food down her throat."

Several other secrets I won't reveal show and remind us that we never know what other people think nor do we ever really know what goes on in their private lives, behind closed doors.

"Honeydew" was first published, at their solicitation, in Orion magazine and subsequently selected for inclusion in the 2012 Best American Short Stories.