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Monday, October 6, 2008

My Mother, the Crazy African

I'm not a short story reader. The whole "short" part bothers me. I don't want it to be "short", I want to learn about the characters, follow them in their lives, have adventures with them. That means "long" not "short".

Why am I telling you this? Because this blogger just convinced me to read a short story ... and it was fantastic.

My Mother, the Crazy African is an immigrant experience tale. With only 6 pages of "story" it definitely qualifies as "short" but it is also one of those stories that will stick with me for a long time. The author, Chimamanda N. Adichie (aka Amanda N. Adichie) wrote this when she was in college.

Take just 10 minutes of your time and go read this story online - then come back and tell me what you think, ok?


Dreamybee said...

I'm with you on the short story thing-it's hard to find ones that are...enough. This one was good though-thanks for the link! I don't know if it was the author's intent or not, but at then end of the story I felt much more sympathy for the mother than for the teenage daughter, even though I could totally understand where the daughter was coming from.

The part that struck me the most was where she talks about how her mother no longer crosses herself when she hears about people being murdered. She's so happy about her mother's progress toward becoming more American, but what a sad statement about Americans!

Ti said...

I think coming to America is different than going from one country to another. Americans ARE different and although it may not be something intentionally done, the pressure to BE American when you get here is great.

I was born here but my father is Tibetan. When I was growing up, no one even knew where Tibet was. I wanted my dad to fit in. I wanted to fit in. I mean, after all, I was born here. Right?

I could relate to the themes in this short story. However, it cemented my feelings on short stories. I was just getting into the story when it ended. That is why I have a hard time reading them. Although, this one, was very well written.

softdrink said...

I'm not a fan of short stories, either. Like Ti, I was just getting into this one, when whammo, the end.

I did find it interesting that, like her main character, Chimamanda Adichie was using a shortened name at this time in her life.

gautami tripathy said...

I have been reading a lot of short stories lately. I must have 5 short stories by Adichie. I have liked all of those. Still exploring.

One can cover a vast genre in a short while by reading short stories.

Thanks for linking my blog but if yo had mentioned my name/my blog name, that would have been even better!


Amanda said...

I'm sometimes the same way about short stories. But wow. That one was very powerful. I'm going to have to let it digest a bit before I comment more.

Heather J. said...

dreamybee - I hadn't thought about it that way, but you're right - I do feel for the mom very much.

ti - my gram immigrated from England (previously from Ireland) in 1947 and even though she LOOKED like an American in many ways, she sounded and dressed like a Brit - she moved in with my grandpa's family and his parents only spoke Italian ... I can't imagine the adjusting SHE had to do, especially because she did want to fit in so much.

softdrink - I noticed that about her name as well - in fact, I had a hard time thinking of it as a STORY and not as the author's LIFE

gautami - I'll have to check out more of her stories soon - thanks again for sharing this one.

amanda - I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Nit said...

I loved the story! I agree, something that will definitely stick with me :) And, I don't think I've read a short story since high school! :)

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