Friday, January 21, 2011

Wearing the Dead

Short Story by Alan Smale

Trevor is a kid taking care of the ghost of his dog while befriending a former gang, Robbie, member hiding out with his emotionally distant mother. Neither mother nor son has coped well with the death of the father, or the subsequent death of the family dog, Trixie. Trixie haunts them, but only Trevor can see her. This is really a story about Trevor's attempts to grow up and have some agency in his life, and his partial failure to do so. A sort of failed-coming-of-age tale.

Robbie in a good replacement father-figure, seemingly a better parent than Trevor's Mom by a long shot. He tries to teach Trevor to stand up for himself against the bullies and understand and atone for his part in Trixie's death. Tragically, Trevor can only act by hoping for the help of others, he doesn't seem to get the concept of doing things for himself. His mom doesn't help things any, but Trevor's cluelessness makes things worse for everyone. Particularly in the conclusion to the story, where whether Trevor is delusional about the dog or not, he certainly makes things worse for himself and his mother's relationship either way. I like to think he is crazy though, it makes for a more tragic and interesting reading.

3.5 ghost dogs out of 5.

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