Author: Annalee Adams
Published: October 31, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Trapped in a cage, fighting for her life, will she survive the night?
Gretel is a blood-curdling serial killer thriller, that tells the story of seventeen-year-old Lucy, taken against her will five years ago. Caged up with no-one left to protect her she must survive the night or become the killer’s latest victim.
After he killed her, she wept. Body bags and chainsaws stripped the night clean. Her mind a mess of revulsion, as the silence took over and the girls pleaded for their lives. Had it been five years already? Trapped down in the darkness, away from reality. Now Jess was gone, brutally murdered; she was like a lamb to the slaughter… and tonight was the feast.
Halloween had arrived and that meant only one thing, candy bars, and corruption as he took her screaming soul from the cage and introduced her to her former best friend. This short story is a novelette of nightmares, forgotten victims and surreal realities.
I’m not sure what I expected from this little book, but it’s nuts! It’s the perfect short story for those Criminal Minds fans. The cover is amazing, the story is simple and effective, the characters are interesting and easy to sympathize with. My only real criticism is that I’d like more overall info; I also acknowledge that it’s just a short story. Gretel just left me shaking my head. It was terrifying and nasty and engaging and I have to say that the twist was pretty crazy! A very good book!
Author: Jodi Picoult
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Published: May 18, 2022
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.
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?[Top]
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![Top]