The story is an exploration of a one-sided competition and rivalry between two sisters. One sister is prettier and smarter, but the other sister is well balanced and happy. The prettier sister’s son gets cancer.
Their relationship is explored as is the marriage and infidelity of the prettier sister.
“Despite his crisp consonants and former marriage he seemed not quite formed, a lad.”
“Thea described the event to Gaby, who visited frequently and kept all dire predictions to herself. ‘It was nice going to Children’s for something they could fix,’ Thea said. ‘I felt like an ordinary mother.’”
“Gifted” is included in the 2016 edition of The Best American Short Stories. The story was first published in the New England Review.