Category: Sunday Meme

Short Story Sunday: Uncharted Waters by Sally Hepworth

Uncharted Waters
Series: Getaway #1
Author: Sally Hepworth

Narrator: Candice Moll
Published: August 31, 2022
Audiobook: 1 hour 44 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: October 21, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 1 star

Book Description:

“Speak your truth.” An icebreaker leads to unintended consequences for two strangers aboard a luxury yacht in this seductively twisty short story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Sister.

When Ella boards a sumptuous charter off the coast of Australia, she feels…dread. Her husband, Mac, the social butterfly who makes these wellness retreats so much easier to navigate, is stuck at work, leaving her exposed to the other passengers. Luckily, she forms an instant bond with the charismatic Chloe, a newly single woman salving a broken heart. But as the friendship grows, Ella discovers they share more than the need for an escape, and their devastating connection has the power to forever alter their lives.

Uncharted Waters by Sally Hepworth is part of Getaway, a collection of six stories about dream escapes that take unimaginable, even sinister, turns. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single sitting.

Jessica’s Review:

I wasn’t prepared for the direction this short story went in. It was unpleasant in several areas for me. The only reason I continued it was that I would not have been able to get something else in during my commute, and I really regret it. This short story is not typical of Hepworth’s  novels that I have read and enjoyed in the past. It is described as a thriller but it is not:  It is all about cheating on the part of both spouses. We have a FF (female/female) affair story here.  This short story was not for me at all and if this had been my first experience with Hepworth I would not continue her full length novels. She was the whole reason I went for this short story in the series first and was very disappointed.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US 
Amazon UK

Short Story Sunday: Graceful Burdens by Roxane Gay

Graceful Burdens
Series: Out of Line
Author: Roxane Gay

Narrator: Samira Wiley
Published: September 1, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”

A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.

Roxane Gay’s Graceful Burdens 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. 

Jessica’s Review:

This story takes place in a dystopian world where women are evaluated to determine whether or not they will be permitted to have children. They undergo testing at age 16 to see if they will be allowed to procreate. We see both sides of this world through Hadley who is unlicensed to have children and Seraphina who is licensed. 

There are libraries in this world where only women can ‘borrow’ a child for up to two weeks.  These children are no longer ‘borrowable’ once they hit three years old. Hadley checks out a baby girl as only girls can be ‘borrowed’. We also see Seraphina who has children but doesn’t really want them.  It still seems like the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ even in this dystopian world.

I can’t say much more than this because it would give away what happens in the short story. There is much more that could be done with this story: It is another one I would like to see expanded because of the direction it goes in. It is an intriguing story that also makes you think. 

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Short Story Sunday: Choice by Jodi Picoult

Choice
Author: Jodi Picoult
Narrator:
Thérèse Plummer

Published: May 18, 2022
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 2, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Short Story Description:

Margot and James are broken up—for good this time. James made sure of it when he dropped the bomb on Margot: that he doesn’t want kids, ever.

Then, on the biggest morning of his life, James—an ambitious lawyer at a high-powered firm—wakes up pregnant. He realizes with dread that he is part of a recent epidemic of men suddenly and inexplicably becoming pregnant. His condition obvious to the higher-ups, James is denied the promotion he was expecting, sending him reeling.

Meanwhile, Margot, a social worker, must handle the influx of desperate, pregnant teenage boys suddenly seeking her help. When she receives a call from James with the same problem, the challenge of navigating post-Roe America hits even closer to home.

**Please note: This content is intended for adults only. It features themes of pregnancy loss that may be upsetting to some listeners. Discretion is advised.

Jessica’s Review:

Choice was written by Picoult in response to the news that Roe v. Wade may be overturned by the Supreme Court in the near future. This short story is very timely and I feel that  most everyone needs to read/listen to.  It won’t be for everyone, per the disclaimer, and not everyone will read it.  And yes, this is a controversial short story as abortion is a controversial issue.

In Choice, it has been five years since Roe v. Wade was overturned. This short story shows what could happen if overnight for an unknown reason that boys and men of all ages whom have had sex wake up pregnant. And not just ‘newly’ pregnant, but all stages of pregnancy with a variety of symptoms. Choice demonstrates how if the tables were turned what would happen to men and their lack of options in regard to pregnancy: From being passed over for a  job promotion, to just being lost and scared in general as women are now. 

I truly enjoyed this short story.  It was interesting seeing how men/boys reacted to their pregnancy and their unique situations as women do daily.  Women also cannot get pregnant anymore, so seeing both genders go in a 180 direction was something: Women have no cares anymore and now men have to be cautious.

Choice was currently free on Audible and I listened to it in 38 minutes during my commute home. I have never been pregnant, but there can be the possibility of pregnancy, and together my husband and I made choices for our life together.  I relished seeing men lost in this new and unique worldwide situation.  I would love to see Picoult expand this story into a full-length novel and focus on a few men and their circumstances over the course of their pregnancy and the decision they come to. It would also be interesting to know how this happened, but it may just be a ‘fluke of nature’ that happened to our species.  Other questions arise in this world: What happened to the women who were pregnant before this event happened? Are they still pregnant?  How will a man deliver a baby??? Of course, there are many more questions that could be asked. 

The narrator was Thérèse Plummer and I always enjoy her, so along with the intriguing description, that made listening to this short story a must listen to for me. Bravo to Picoult for writing this short story and giving readers something to think about and women something to enjoy: The tables are turned for men and pregnancy! Who truly is the ‘weaker’ sex?

Purchase Links:
**This short story is only available through Audible and currently FREE

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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