Friday, April 01, 2016

See How Small

by Scott Blackwood

If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky summer beach read, turn back now. Written in beautiful prose, See How Small is a fictionalized account of a true crime that occurred on December 6th, 1991: four teen girls in a frozen yogurt shop in Texas are brutally murdered. The crime to this day remains unsolved.

The opening chapter writes in first-person tense through one of the murdered girls posthumous perspective, very similar to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The rest of the novels ripples from the shock of the crime, entering the stream of conscious of Kate, the mother of two of the murdered girls and owner of the shop, Jack, the firefighter who first responded to the crime scene, Rosa, the reporter covering the murders, Hollis, a homeless war veteran, and Michael, a troubled teen who was paid to drive the getaway car for the anonymous murderers.

Each narrator is adrift in their own version of grief in the aftermath of the senseless crime. The novel explores the empathy of suffering and the small things that can bind us together and tear us apart at the same time. Just like the real crime, the narrators never find an answer, just a way of coping, and the reader too becomes a victim of their affliction. I enjoyed the moral exploration of each diverse character rather than the "who-done-it" murder mystery style. This is one of those books that sticks with you long after you have finished reading it.

For more strong, but flawed characters, try the short story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell. For more heartfelt and illuminative storytelling try Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff.

Review by Stevie Z.

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