Monday, July 11, 2011

Reader's Diary #733- Steven Mayoff: Milk, Milk, Lemonade

There's a Kiefer Sutherland/Sally Field movie from 1996 called Eye for an Eye that I barely remember at all (I even had to IMDb the title), except for a creepy moment with Kiefer, who played a rapist/murderer, reciting a children's rhyme: "'tough titty,' said the kitty, 'but the milk's still good'" while poking a five your old girl in the chest. I was reminded of this horrible little scene with Steven Mayoff's* use of a similar juvenile rhyme, "milk, milk, lemonade, around the corner fudge is made."**

That I'd have icky feelings from an unintentional link to Sutherland's movie actually works in Mayoff's favour, not that he needed any help. "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" is an uncomfortable story from start to finish and Mayoff uses this to his advantage. He knows how just how readers will likely rationalize and come to terms with what they are reading and strings them along accordingly. It's a brilliantly written story, but it's also a brilliantly written punch in the gut, so be warned. No doubt it's worse reading it as a parent, but I'd hope anyone would be squeamish after reading this story.

*Steven Mayoff is originally from Montreal, but currently lives in PEI. I went looking specifically for PEI authors on the PEI Writers' Guild website after lamenting during the 4th Canadian Book Challenge that I had to resort to Lucy Maud Montgomery yet again.

**While researching for this post, I discovered that Katy Perry has a song called "Milk, Milk, Lemonade." Instead of taking the edge off of Mayoff's story, the sexual innuendo in Perry's lyrics combined with Mayoff's story, just makes her song kind of wrong.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Julie @ Read Handed said...

That does sound like a disturbing story. Not sure I'm willing to tackle it. My Short Story Monday post is about Ambrose Bierce's "Eyes of the Panther".

SuziQoregon said...

John, you have me both intrigued and extremely wary of this story. I'm not sure I want to read it, yet at the same time I'm curious.

I read another one of Agatha Christie's stories of the Tuesday Night Club called Ingots of Gold

Anonymous said...

You've caught my interest, even though I'm not sure what the story's about.

I read another mystery today, "Three Blind Mice," which also takes a childhood rhyme and makes it kind of frightening.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The disturbing aspects of this story were actually quite subtle, which I think made it all the more effective. When you are uncertain, it's harder to rely on moral outrage. Nice choice!