19 by Aaron Patterson

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2014/01/11 by rmstrong1980

19The short story “19” is a quick read by Aaron Patterson. It took me less than two hours to finish the story.

The story opens with Henry getting a letter out of the blue from Mandy, his ex-fiancé–about 60-years ex. This is the only time we see Henry. The rest of the story is in the form of a manuscript sent to a writer ex-boyfriend. Henry never returns, we never hear about what caused the breakup of their relationship, or even, really, why he is there.

The “manuscript”–the rest of the short story–is written choppily. We see little vignettes of the main character’s past before jumping ahead nearly 50 years to where the bulk of the story resides.

I really didn’t enjoy Mandy much. She seemed whiny, paranoid and a little OCD there at the end. The “special power” the women in her family seem to have–knowing when someone is going to die–only seems to work once. There is never any mention of the smell of roses (a better title for the story) coming more than once, but it frightens her nearly to death when it happens (granted, her husband is in the hospital at the time, but still).

There were a few times when Mandy breaks off from her “manuscript” and speaks directly to Henry (without mentioning his name). These few instances are rather jarring. Once, she also uses the word “puke,” which is just as jarring. Yes, the word has been used in English since Shakespeare’s time, but it didn’t seem to fit the character.

The formatting of the ebook leaves a great deal to be desired. There are no “page” breaks, each section starts right after the previous one. Instead of starting at the preface (a quote from Romeo and Juliet, which is not attributed properly), the file opens at the copyright page. There is no demarcation between parts other than a quick reference to the side and the entire file is in italic text.

If you’re looking for a quick read this one is enjoyable enough. If you’re looking for a thriller, or something that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you might want to look somewhere else.

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