Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and purchase a copy of Shirley Jackson’s posthumously published short story collection Come Along With Me. If you have read anything by Shirley Jackson before, you know this has got to be good. If you have never read anything by Shirley Jackson, what are you waiting for?
I, like most of the world, was introduced to Shirley Jackson through reading her short story, The Lottery, in high school. It wasn’t until years later when I picked up her books about raising her children that I realized what a wonderful writer she was. After reading Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages I moved on to We Have Always Lived in the Castle and fell madly in love.
Come Along with Me is the name of her incomplete novel which is about a woman who escapes from her past reinvents herself.
The rest of the book has something for everyone: Humor (Pajama Party and The Night we all had Grippe); Mystery (A Visit and The Bus); Suspense (The Little House); Drama (The Summer People and The Rock); and Non-fiction (Three Lectures: Experience and Fiction, Biography of a Story, and Notes for a Young Writer).
At some point, I must make time to read all her novels. Maybe after this Read-a-Shelf thing is over.
Statistics: Stats: 243 pages (paperback). Started October 2016, finished May 23, 2017.
No clue what age. Grade school. (I hope).
The Littlest Dancer
Once there was a girl at the age of five. She wanted to be a ballet dancer more than anything else in the whole world but her mother and father were much too poor to let her take dancing lessons.
Amy, which was her name, stomped down the stairs and into the kitchen.
Amy thought she could watch T.V. and learn ballet that way so she turned it on and her father came in and turned it off and said, “That is enough of your playing with the T.V. set.”
When bedtime came, Amy went upstairs and got dressed but she did not go right to sleep. Instead, she lay awake thinking.
The next morning she said, “Please let me go to dancing lessons. Please!”
“NO! You know we don’t have enough money to spend on silly old ballet classes.”
“But…” Her mother stopped her in the middle of the sentence.
“NO! NO! NO!” her mother said.
So that night she ran away. Her mother was terrified. She fainted so her husband woke her up and comforted her. They called the missing persons department.
“My child is gone. Can you find her? She has brown hair and wants to learn ballet very much. Can you help us find her?” said her father.
“Yes we know just the place to look, ballet school,” said the missing persons police officer.
So they looked there and she was there. They took her home and paid the people and Amy got to go to ballet school and when she was all done she came home with a lot of money and you might see her someday doing ballet.
Probably 6th grade again.
My First Hour (this morning)
I opened my eyes and recalled my dream I had the night before. Then my dad walked in my room to see if I was awake or not. I pretended I was asleep (although he always seems to know I am really awake).
He told me to get up. I did not stir. Then my mom walked through the door (she thought I was still asleep) and said, “GET UP!” I got up and went into the kitchen. I still was in my PJs because when my dad leaves for work he always lights his pipe and I hate the smell of it, especially when I am eating. But my mom told me to get dressed before I ate. So I hurried up and got dressed so I wouldn’t have to smell any of my dad’s pipe when I was eating. I put on a blue plaid skirt but I couldn’t decide what blouse to wear so I decided on the short sleeve one and a sweater.
I made it out to eat just before my dad finished eating so I didn’t have to smell his pipe after all.
I had Rice Krispies with my brother. He talked about his worms all during breakfast. That turned my stomach.
After all that I went in and brushed my teeth and my retainer and washed my face with Noxema. My dad made a smart remark about the smell.
When I left I forgot my shorts and shirt so I had to go back and get them.