For this week, I drew the four of hearts which takes me back to Katey Schultz’s Flashes of War and the story “My Son Wanted a Notebook”. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. You can find the general guidelines and my list for this year from this post.
This is short story at one and half pages but it packs quite a punch. It tells of Anoosah and his family in war-torn Iraq. His mother is attending classes provided by the Americans and Anoosah is learning everything his mother learned in the classes. He wants a notebook and his mother sends him to get one that they can fill together with all the things they learn.
You can tell the story is gearing up for something tragic (I won’t spoil it here) – I just got one of those feelings in the pit of my stomach until the end when it was revealed and then my heart just broke. Schultz is a gifted author if she can make a reader feel all that in a page and a half. And she does this with all her short stories. I honestly believe the shorter her stories, the more emotionally draining they are and I’ve been really trying to figure out how she does it. She doesn’t go into a great level of detail so I can’t say the reader is drawn in by that but I think it’s that most of her stories so far talk about each character with just their first names (at least to start). The reader almost feels like they know the character right off the bat. Schultz gives you just enough of their background so you move from the acquaintance phase to the friend phase fairly quickly. This is what I love about her stories. I’m always excited to pull a heart card for this reason.