Monday, August 04, 2008

Reader's Diary #383- Emily Schultz: I Love You, Pretty Puppy

Short Story Monday


"I'm in love with you and the dog is licking herself.

That's my life."

Can the rest of Schultz's story live up to such a great opening? Yes, yes, yes.

I'm particularly fond of stories that look at love realistically, without all the sheen. Of course, many romances begin with so much sheen they practically sparkle. Without fail, the stains eventually show through and real love begins with a decision not to throw it out, to appreciate it for what it is. It's not a new theme amongst us not-quite-sentimentalists. Just recently I watched John Cusack explore the same idea in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity.

Schultz brings pre-stained dinnerware to the table. Here we are treated to the exploration of a relationship that didn't have much of a sheen to begin with. "I Love You, Pretty Puppy" is the story of an unattractive girl and her unattractive boyfriend and their unattractive dog (and they all lived together in their crooked little house). Much of the story revolves around the girl, and how she's come to accept life and love the way it is-- though there are more than a few hints to suggest that her resolve isn't as strong as her sarcasm and practicality would otherwise indicate.

What role does the "pretty puppy" play in all this? It's obvious that it's become symbolic to the girl. Though focusing on the dog at moments that cross-cut her relationship, I'm still a little unsure of whether it's seen as an extension of herself, or of the couple. I'll wrestle with that throughout the day. It's such a great story, I can't let it go.

1 comment:

Allison said...

What an excellent story! I was capitivated from the start and rarely read things straight through these days.

Great find.