Halfway to Free
Series: Out of Line collection
Author: Emma Donoghue
Published: September 1, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: February 1, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Short Story Description:
Miriam was raised in a society without children. To offset the devastation of climate change, state-of-the-art birth control has made daycares and playgrounds things of the past. As tempting as the government inducements are to remain child-free, Miriam’s curiosity about the people who “drop out” of society to become parents grows. When she finds a like-minded partner, she must choose between the rewarding comforts she knows and the unknowable mysteries of being a mother.
Emma Donoghue’s Halfway to Free is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
Taking place in 2060, I would rather this short story be a full-length novel as all the beginnings of a dystopian tale will leave the reader thinking. The world that Miriam lives in is overpopulated and having a child is looked down upon. NOT having a child is the acceptable choice and only the extremely wealthy or celebrities procreate. There are even government incentives, support and more to stay child free. This includes having health care, housing, and even employment. There are still those that go against the grain and decide to procreate thus losing everything. Those form their own communities to pull through together.
Miriam has come to a crossroads in her life with what she should do and what she wants to do. She and her partner have to come to a decision.
This short story really makes you think with everything going on in this dystopian world, why would someone want to have a child as there is so much to lose. This story with its ‘anti-children’ stance parallels what goes on in our world today if one does not have a child, whether due to life circumstances or health reasons.
I really hope that Donoghue decides to expand upon this short story, there is so much potential here!