First, this comment is late because my copy of the magazine didn’t arrive. Still hasn’t arrived. So I printed out the story, and haven’t seen what else is in the latest issue. I hope whatever it is is better than this story. I don’t want to read stories about twelve-year-old kids in The New Yorker. This one is about a kid who has a sore on his lip. He gets kidded about it at school and so he pretends to be sick so he doesn’t have to go. His mother buys his crap but his stepfather doesn’t, and like every kid with an overactive imagination (which is every kid, right?), he plots his revenge. It doesn’t work out quite as he plans, but thanks to the news that there is a missing pet leopard in the vicinity he is able to alter his plan. The kid needs psychiatric help and I hope he gets it soon. In the meantime, I’m sorry we all wasted our time reading this story.
And another thing. The story is in the second person because the kid is talking to himself. There is no good reason for this. He’s not having an out of body experience. He hasn’t had some grave trauma that causes him to distance himself from himself. He’s a kid. His parents are divorced. His stepfather isn’t even that big of a jerk. Second person is a gimmick.
November 10, 2008: “Leopard” by Wells Tower