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Stars: Overall: 2 Narration 2 Story: 2
This was a contest win and going in I realized it was a short, unfortunately my usual expectations for a short story were unfulfilled, leaving me wondering about several key points. The author dives right in to a 'slice of life' story at a small country traveling carnival. The lead character and main voice of this story is often unnecessarily harsh-spoken, with few reasons established for her knee-jerk proclamations about any and every thing. Yes, being a single mother is tough - I"ve survived it - but making everyone else who you encounter, including your child, miserable with your mouth, reactions and sharp judgments is just wrong. And the insets from her supposed best friend's man about the freshman (yet 14 year old hs freshman?) daughter were HIGHLY uncomfortable and inappropriate - even if made in jest or used to reiterate the mother's sense of protectiveness.
Then we have the 'meeting' of the carnie as she takes a chance to ride. It was, as she repeatedly warned her daughter that they were not to be trusted, and only out for one thing. Sixteen years she has avoided entanglements, avoided men, and dislikes the whole idea of carnival workers like one dislikes mud on a white carpet - yet a prolonged glance, an inadvertent moment when she walks into him, and she is rushing back in a too tight, too short dress and too high heels to walk about a small town carnival. If the locals weren't bad-mouthing her before for her 16 and pregnant move - they certainly would now. See - I couldn't work up any sort of empathy for the main character...
The bright spot - the narration by Candice Rans that was part "Designing Women" and part Paula Deen, with just enough of a rough edge to the voice to feel legit. My one complaint with her work is the unexplained and often distracting pauses in the narration: where no pause should have existed. I have not read the copy, so I cannot say for sure, but the number of pauses in unexplained places could only be a narrative choice.
This was a contest win and gave me a good opportunity to sample the author's work as well as find a new to me narrator. I will certainly look for more audio from this narrator: perhaps I will look at a longer work that may suit her character development and plotting arc skills better than this short story format has