April 17, 2012

Reader Radar #2

Title:              When I Woke Up I Knew I Was Dead: A Short Story
Author:           N. Primak
Publisher:       Amazon Digital Services
Medium:         Kindle

While reading through a pile of short stories for this week’s Reader Radar, I came across some crazy things - aliens, pissed off gnomes (more on this later), secret fairytale lands, and then this one.  I actually kind of kept moving on after reading it, still searching for just the right story to feature, and while I was eating dinner, I couldn’t help but continue to think about it.  It was nagging at the corners of my brain, creeping back in, refusing to go the way of the aliens.

Isn’t that what short stories are supposed to do?  At first the concept and storyline had me thinking one way, then another, and even this morning, I was still processing it.  I really believe that there is actually a powerful message intertwined into the core of this short story, which catapults the material straight to the top of important issues that children are facing today.

I don’t want to give away too much in this review, but I think that the underlying issue is that even children and teenagers get depressed, reach out, get no answers, and unfortunately turn to the wrong solution.  Kids get depressed for any number of issues, and we see that impact in the headlines of today’s news stories.

In this short story the boy is obviously depressed – it could be from peer pressure, bullying, issues at home – I think the story slightly touches on all three, but in being a kid, he still has trouble enunciating that to his parents, his girlfriend, his teachers, and himself, to a point.  He finally sees someone in school that is just like him, but even she doesn’t have the answers for him, because she doesn’t have the answers for herself.

The ending is somewhat abrupt, but in hindsight maybe that is Primak’s point?

I try not to read any reviews of any book or short story I read before or during the time I am reading it.  I don’t want anyone else’s opinion to creep into my core and taint my perspective and thought process.  I did happen upon a few reviews this morning while doing some research on the author, N. Primak.  I saw reviews that classified this as a funny short story.  If I squint and look into the sun, I can see where someone can find the beginning of the story humorous, but as a whole, I respectfully disagree.

When I Woke Up I Realized I Was Dead is dark, raw and real.

N. Primak is definitely on my Reader Radar!

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