I got quickly sucked into “Status Update” just as I do to the social media Alice Benson is making a social commentary of. In this fictional work, a mother gets a Facebook account and cannot keep herself from reading the posts from her son and his latest girlfriend. Her inner dialogue is captured below each update in italics, and it is both amusing and accurate to something I’m pretty sure all Facebook users experience at some point:
September 25 at 8:00 am. Lucinda Cash’s Facebook Wall: “Got laid last night. Fabulous.”
Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse. She really has no idea of what’s appropriate. Short Pause. Of course, I wouldn’t have to read it, would I? But, there’s a part of me that can’t look away. I wish I understood why.Lisa Battalia’s “The Gift” starts out with a pregnancy pee-stick, but it isn’t the clichéd story that I have come to expect with such an opening. Instead, it’s much more complicated. A woman of forty-eight years will have a healthy pregnancy when she is raising two adopted children due to her inability to carry to full term in the past:
“What if we didn’t keep it?” He asks.
“That would be like slapping God.”
They each look away from the other again, to sip coffee and acknowledge the unspeakable choice: black or white; death or life.But when she discovers that she is farther along that she had guessed, her choice is made for her. This story asks important questions about what defines a child as your own and about the gift one woman can give to another.
In her nonfiction piece, Alice Lowe tries to discover what “home” really is because her family always rented houses, and she moved often. “For many people home is where they grew up . . . There’s nothing concrete here, no structure, that I can point to and say, ‘That is, or was, my home.’” And while she deduces that home is wherever she is “currently hanging [her] hat,” she admits that the town itself from her childhood does have a bit of nostalgia to it.
The poetry and rest of the prose is equally engaging in this issue of New Purlieu Review. And while I do wish that the drop-down navigation worked better on the site, I am impressed with the content of this still young journal.