Story of the Week #7 — “The Proposal” by Amelia Jane Nierenberg

In the spirit of having been published this week by Burningword Literary Journal, I figured I would review a story in the July 1 issue. This flash fiction story by Amelia Jane Nierenberg hits rather close to home for me.

Read the story here.

This fantastic little piece manages to capture the essence of my entire childhood in less than 300 words.  I had imaginary pets, little boys were meanies to me, and I “got married” during recess in the second grade. Maybe this is the life of all little girls. But in any case, reading this gave me a bad case of nostalgia (or good case — it wasn’t a terrible feeling), and to me that is a marker of success. Eliciting an emotional response from a reader is one of the hardest and most rewarding things about fiction.

Another thing I like about this piece is how visceral the language is:

“Yum, yum, yum,” he said, gnashing his pearl-white teeth together around the necks of my dogs. “Your dogs are delicious.”

The image of the little boy gnashing his teeth at the narrator is grotesque, creepy. Like a bad dream come to the front of your mind. I can’t get over how emotionally stirring this is for me. It goes from cutesy to creepy in the span of a sentence, which is exactly how my childhood looks to me through the lens of old(er) age.

Each time I read this piece I see something else I like. Check it out!

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