Monday, July 17, 2017

Random Reviewlet 3

Monster Girls Don't Cry by A. Marc Rustad, published in Uncanny Magazine.

Warning: some spoilers may be ahead.

A woman who spends her life hiding herself finds out what acceptance really means.

Well, if that isn't a giant metaphor, I don't know what is. However, it's so nicely done that I can't help but enjoy it on the surface level as well as the underneath. Oh, I suppose it's a bit clumsy in some respects with the metaphor - almost going overboard - but it's a story about literal monsters.

I usually don't like second-person narrative... but this story needs that little push into the personal space, and that's what the narrative does. The reader isn't really a monster, are they? But the narrative insists that for the length of this telling you see the world as the monster girl.

Of course, this story is about how good intentions aren't always positive, but it's also about finding people who don't mind the monsters and see the real people behind what others would call deformities. This metaphor could mean any group of people that are abused or shunned - from those with visible disabilities to those who can "pass" for normal.

I think my biggest problem with it is how it feels like a metaphor, even though it doesn't have to be. I feel like I have to think of who the monsters might be representing. That feeling is a result of our society. If I read this as a child or teenager, I would probably have understood the metaphor less, and because of that I would have enjoyed the story more and probably found it something to think about for a long time after. Coming to it as a jaded adult, I don't know if it works the way it should.

Conclusion: I really liked it, but can't shake the feeling that its message comes on too strong.