>Short Story Month 2011: There is Something Inside, It Wants to Get Out by Madeline McDonnell (#ssm2011)


Until now, my Short Story Month 2011 contributions have been from literary magazines, and I’ve got plenty more of those to talk about for the rest of the month. But today I’ll do something different by presenting a press new to me and an author new to me, because I suspect we’ll be hearing more about both.

Madeline McDonnell’s There is Something Inside, It Wants to Get Out, published by Rescue Press, is a slim collection of just 3 stories. But they’re all good ones, and I enjoyed this book very much.

The first story–my favorite, I think–is “Wife,” about a woman named Wednesday–which is her first problem–who is dominated by her mother–that’s her second problem. She is engaged to Ben, although he has a hard time telling her mother, who doesn’t like Ben much and also doesn’t think much of the institution of marriage (“Marriage is legalized rape, nothing more.”). But Wednesday doesn’t seem terribly interested in her own career in academia. So what’s left for her?

The second story is “Physical Education” about a teen cancer patient who is returning to school and her gym classes, but whose father also shoes up to keep an eye on her. Because the pipe-smoking gym teacher seems uninterested, the father basically takes over–becoming both coach and participant in the games of volleyball and basketball.

The final story, “Trouble,” profiles a young woman who finds herself pregnant for the second time. The first time, when she was a teenager, ended in an abortion. This time, she’s married, but it doesn’t seem that she’s any better equipped to handle than she was when she was a child. Among other things, she has this fondness for running her car into other cars . . .

It’s an excellent little collection, beautifully written, that explores dark emotions and personal trauma.

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