Author: Lillian Francis
Length: Short (24 pages)
Publisher: JMS Books (August 19th, 2013)
Heart: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Liked it!
Blurb: Jerome’s life is humdrum, mundane even. Every day he catches the bus to work, listens to his best friend, Nav, rants on about the latest crisis in his life and tries to stop his attention from wandering to the gorgeous guy at the back of the bus too often. After all it would be embarrassing to get caught staring.
Friday morning had been no different. Except that the object of his blatant attention was definitely making eye contact, his Asian best friend had involved the entire bus in a racist rant against the East Europeans and Jerome appeared to have been struck dumb.
Now two days later Jerome’s run out of milk and all the local shops are shut except for the Polskie Delikatesy. Jerome’s hanging about on the pavement, studying adverts in the window which appear to be made up of far too many Zs & Ks, and wondering if he could do without milk for the evening. Stepping through the door brings Jerome face to face with the realisation that racism isn’t just about rants and rallies, but is inherent in thoughts and deeds, things said, or even in silence. That being a target for other people’s prejudice because of his sexuality, doesn’t mean he’s immune from false and pre-conceived notions. If he can come to terms with that and accept that everyone — even a gay liberal trainee journalist — might be just a little bit racist, then maybe, just maybe, he could be going home with more than a pint of milk.
Review: This review could be summed up with the following three words. Sigh, Smile, Happy!
However, a reviewer should do due diligence and report correctly. So here goes. This is a short story that illustrates with textbook accuracy exactly how a short story should be written. The story is set in London and tells the tale of two boys, one of Jewish descent and one of Polish descent. The story takes place over three days. The story opens with the author establishing the premise and back story using the monologue in Jerome’s head on day one. She then switches to dialogue to set the scene for the conflict. This then sets the scene for the next two days where the two boys establish a friendship and begin a relationship. The fact that the author is able to accomplish all this in 24 pages is testimony to understanding the basic mechanics of good storytelling – (a) set the scene (b) present the characters (c) establish the conflict (d) use interesting, well-constructed dialogue to show rather than tell and then (e) move from conflict to climax/resolution. The fact that the dialogue is littered with British slang only serves to further cement the setting which is always a good thing. The reader will actually begin to hear the British accents in their head as they read. How exciting. To read and actually be transported across the pond. Yay!
The end result of this short story – A cute couple whom the readers are able to bond with and root for. The story is well paced, nicely written and throwing in British slang lends it an air of being a ‘different other’ which is always nice to see in either short or long form. The story starts on a bus so I’d suggest this for one’s commute on either a bus or train and have life imitate art.