May 2022 Book of the Month Club - Short Stories

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rubysmama

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I've read four of the five. I will not finish one of them.
Curious to know which one and why. So looking forward to discussion time.

Must be one of the 2 longer ones, though, as the short ones only take minutes to read, so you're pretty much done before you could get the "I'm not finishing this" point. ;)

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Boris Diamond

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Curious to know which one and why. So looking forward to discussion time.

Must be one of the 2 longer ones, though, as the short ones only take minutes to read, so you're pretty much done before you could get the "I'm not finishing this" point. ;)
On the Gull's Road was not for me. I won't say why until discussion starts as I don't want to give anything away.
 
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rubysmama

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On the Gull's Road was not for me. I won't say why until discussion starts as I don't want to give anything away.
That's the one I still haven't read. Busy in the garden these days, so less time for reading. Will get to it, either today or tomorrow.
 
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rubysmama

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It's May 22nd, which means we've reached the discussion part of Short Story Month. Hope everyone had a chance to read at least one of them. If you haven't finished them all yet, that's fine, you can post your thoughts on the ones you've read, then post again later.

Since I've read them all, and written my reviews, I'll post mine now.


Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I’m writing this review with tears running down my face, as yet again this story moved me, literally to tears. I first read Flowers for Algernon in either junior or high school, and I remember loving it so much. Last year I borrowed the e-book from the library, and it seemed different from what I remembered. Turns out it was originally written as a short story, and later expanded into a novel, which is the version the library had. As I was certain it was the short story I read in school, I looked forward to reading it this month. And it did not disappoint. Having recently read both, I prefer the short story, as it is more succinct.

Even though the writing style is difficult to read in the beginning, with the misspelled words and poor grammar, it made seeing it begin to appear again in Charlie’s progress reports so much more poignant.

My heart broke when Charlie realized his “friends” liked him only to make fun of him. And then broke again, when despite gaining extreme intelligence, Charlie was still lonely.

I knew how the story ended, so when Algernon bit Charlie, my tears started, and continued to the end of the story. Glad Charlie decided to move to somewhere no one knew him. Hopefully he found friends. And hopefully someone back home occasionally put some flowers on Algernon’s grave.
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The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs
The first I head of The Monkey’s Paw was when I used to see it referenced on a message board for a tv show I watched. People would always wish for a specific storyline to happen, but it ever did, it was never how they envisioned it, and they’d compare it to the Monkey’s Paw. After all those references I searched it out and read it, so this was my 2nd time reading it.

I felt bad for the son who, though he was fine with making the wish, ended up paying the ultimate price. Though I guess, the parents paid a pretty high price too, as for the rest of their lives they would know they’d caused their son’s death. But full blame goes to their friend, who should never have even mentioned it, since he’d already made his wishes and regretted them.

Reading in 2022, $200 seemed like such a small amount to wish for, but since it was written in the early 1900’s, and the amount would pay off the mortgage, it would probably be at least $100,000 today. But still not worth it.
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On The Gull’s Road by Willa Cather
Well that was a pretty sad story. Meeting your soul mate, who not only was wed to someone else, but was also dying. This story really makes you wonder, whether it’s better to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all.
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Cat In The Rain by Ernest Hemingway
A very short story, where really not much happens. Woman sees cat, woman tries to find cat, woman is sad because she didn’t find cat, woman is given cat. So what happens next?

Hopefully kitty got to go home with the American couple, and that there were no problems with importing or customs. I wonder, though, if the woman (who was never named) ending up leaving George once they got back home. She didn’t seem very happy. I understand a cat being able to make you happy, but if she posted here at TCS, I’m not sure if I’d recommend her being a cat mom or not. Yeah, thought too much about this story. LOL.
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The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant
Where The Monkey’s Paw told us to “be careful what you wish for”, The Necklace showed us that things, and people, aren’t always as they seem. While aspiring to be better isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we should also try to appreciate what we have. And whether she realized it or not, Mathilde had a loving and caring husband, unlike the poor woman in the Cat in the Rain.
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I guess it's pretty obvious by the stars that Flowers For Algernon was my favourite. My next favourite was The Necklace, followed by The Monkey's Paw, Cat In The Rain, and On The Gull's Road.
 

verna davies

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Flowers for Algernon

I found this story annoying to read because of the way it was written although I didn't have a problem reading the grammar, I found myself getting frustrated. I gave up on it, went back, gave up again and finally read it to the end. Because of this I didnt enjoy the story.
Its a very sad story and thought provoking and unfortunately treatment of people like Charlie Gordon still goes on today. People he thought were his friends treated him like a joke. At 37 all he wanted was to have friends, people who liked him for what he was and to become smarter only to find it wasnt as he expected. Whilst it wasnt my type of story I am nevertheless glad I finished it.
⭐⭐

The Monkeys Paw

Be careful what you wish for came immediately to mind when I read this book, everything comes at a price. I enjoyed the story but it left me feeling sad. I was hoping that the son would come back pre injuries, the mother it seemed was willing to take the chance whilst the father was not.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

On The Gulls Road

What a lovely written but sad story. I found the descriptions of the scenery beautiful and could picture them, the lilac haze over Vesuvius, the purple sea of Sardinia. Such a gentle love formed between Alexandra and the narrator, although they didn't have much time together every moment was treasured by them.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cat in the Rain


I found this story strange and empty, maybe i missed its point. Woman saw cat, woman wanted cat, woman got cat.
⭐ only because it had a cat in the story.

The Necklace

I enjoyed this story and suspected the diamonds were imitation. What a loyal husband to such a shallow wife. She paid the price for her vanity and selfishness but unfortunately her husband paid too. She always felt she should have had a better home, clothes etc, as if she were entitled.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

pearl99

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I only got Flowers for Algernon read. I read the novel, which is what I read when I was in high school. I would like to read the short story to see what it is like, even though I know how it goes.
I love this book. It's heartbreaking to see how Charlie is treated at the bakery before the surgery, and him thinking they are friends because he laughs along with them when they make fun of him. Then when he returns, and they do stick up for him, but it's kind of too late. I too hope he found friends at Warren. I feel like he would have, with such a kind heart. And hopefully the staff treated him, and all there, well.
I didn't remember so much his emotional trouble with adjusting to dealing with people and life with his IQ having skyrocketed. Perils of scientific discoveries. When Algernon started deteriorating that was very sad too, because Charlie sees what could be in store for him. His love for Algernon was touching, and how he took him and built a whole home and maze for him.
A lot of sad, but such great lessons about how people with disabilities can be treated, the value of everyone, and two sides of science and discoveries.
It's one of my favorite books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
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rubysmama

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V verna davies : That's too bad you didn't enjoy Algernon. I wonder if those of us who'd read it before, influenced your opinion by hyping it up to be something it couldn't live up to.

Good thing Cat in the Rain, had a cat, and not a dog, or it might have gotten zero stars from you. :lol:

M maggiedemi : you weren't wrong that Cat in the Rain ended abruptly and left you wondering, what next.

pearl99 pearl99 : I would recommend sometime reading the short story version of Algernon. It's, well, shorter, but there are also several differences, including the ending, where Charlie leaves town, instead of going to Warren.
 

Boris Diamond

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The original cat in the rain was referred to as "she." The cat that was brought in by the maid was a Tortie, so almost definitely a female. No proof of anything, but we can't say it's not the same cat. But who knows?
 

gilmargl

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My short comments on the 5 Short Stories:
I found them all rather sad for different reasons.

Flowers for Algernon: (short version) a clever, thought provoking story. Sad for obvious reasons - and a reminder that we are no better today in our treatment of all those people seen as different from ourselves.

I don't think I've read it before - so I'm glad to have been prodded into giving it a try.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Monkeys Paw

I have read this before and, although I'd forgotten exactly what happened, I reread it with a feeling of dread. Perhaps a clever story but certainly not for me.
⭐⭐⭐

On The Gulls Road

I found this rather sentimental but was interested in reading about the journey along the coast of Italy on a passenger ship. I imagine the narrator never found a partner to share his life in the way he had envisaged with Alexandra. I believe she was deeply touched by his devotion and wanted to be kind to him in the same way as he was kind to her. Was it love?
⭐⭐⭐

Cat in the Rain


This was a wonderful short story! A snap shot but with a fourth dimension - you can read such a lot into it. Rome - the city where there is so much to see and enjoy - but it's raining. So husband and wife are confined to their hotel room. He reads his book (a tourist-guide to the sites of Rome?) but she is bored.

Well, we all know what happens. The wife has a tantrum. (Whether because she's a spoilt brat or just lonely, it was still a tantrum!) The hotel staff want to please their (rich) American guests, so she's presented with a cat - probably not the kitty she had seen sheltering from the rain under the table - there are so many stray cats in Rome.

I am sure she would have got tired of the cat long before returning home and I am equally sure the cat would have been far happier being left on the streets of Rome - it doesn't rain everyday.

A very clever, rather sad, short story about tourists, loneliness, marriage - who knows? Not really a cat story!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Necklace

Another sad tale. Rather silly girl - who thought she deserved more because of her good looks. Poor husband!
⭐⭐⭐
 
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