Monday, January 2, 2017

Mini Review: "Egg" by Priya Sharma

Fantasy, horror
July/August 2016

This is the first of what I call "Mini Reviews:" short reviews of short stories by diverse authors that are (usually) available for free online. My New Year's Resolution is to post two of these Mini Reviews per month in 2017, in addition to the usual long post per week. Wish me luck! 

After failing for years, a woman will do anything to have a child. An old hag offers her the opportunity to do so – if she is willing to face the consequences. All of the consequences.

This story considers two interconnected issues. First, the significance of having a child of one’s own, especially for women. The narrator is willing to go to any length to have her own child, and will not even consider adoption. Is this because of the social pressure to have a child? Or because of some deep, internal yearning? Some combination of the two? The source of this desire is unclear, but it comes through strongly in this narrative.

And second, the difficulties of having a child with special needs. To care for her child, Chick, the narrator needs to do things she would never have considered. Just one example is that Chick will not breastfeed; instead, she will only eat worms that have been chewed up and placed in her mouth! Despite her disgust, the narrator puts the child’s needs before her own and does what is needed. However, this puts an immense strain on her, especially after Chick fails to grow and is unable to show any affection. Is all of this care worth it if she never receives anything in return?

You can read the story for free online here. I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

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