Sunday Short: Foz Meadow's Ten Days' Grace

Sunday, August 31, 2014
This week's Sunday Short comes from Apex's August 2014 issue, Foz Meadow's Ten Days' Grace.

This story is set in a dystopian not-so-distant future, where a National Family Party has taken power and created laws that require all children to have a mother and a father. When the protagonist becomes pregnant out of wedlock and with a married man, the Bureau of Family Affairs requires she marry a man she doesn't love to keep her child. 

Ten Days' Grace in some ways reminded me of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. You have a society that has, in an effort to promote family old fashioned values, taken away basic freedoms that women today enjoy. And both stories left me, the reader, with an icky feeling.

Overall, this story felt a little incomplete or unfinished to me -- maybe less a short story and more the first chapter in a novel. I wanted to hear more about the main character's father (who mourned the loss of his daughter's freedom) and more about her own daughter. There are whispers of rebellion, but I would have appreciated hearing more about why there wasn't much of a fight in the older women who had lived during the 'roaring twenties and shining tens'. 

Favorite line: " wasn’t until Julia heard her daughter’s door slam shut that she let herself drop, spraddle–kneed on the carpet, and cry with the silent experience of a mother who cannot — must not — be overheard."

Rating: 3/5

Next week, I'll read and review 21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One) by LaShawn M. Wanak, available at Strange Horizons. If you can't tell already, I am trying to make up for my heavy reviews. If you have any suggestions for other places to find awesome short stories available online, leave them in the comments below! 

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