Day 17 – The virtue of the 2nd person POV

Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)

Self-Help by Lorrie Moore

Why yes, we’re still doing this meme. I first encountered Lorrie Moore’s story “How to Become a Writer” in college while reading through a book about writing. I can’t remember the kind of advice that book actually gave me but using this example makes me eternally grateful for it. The second person POV is largely considered a deadly choice for many fiction writers but the conceit used by Moore to carry the story simply blew me away.

Self-Help focuses on largely female protagonists who are floundering about in their relationships. A couple of stories deal with familial strain, while one standout story talks about an extramarital affair through the lens of the other woman. There’s a lot of humor in Moore’s narrative voice, but almost all of them are tinged with a kind of inescapable tragedy, like it’s simply a requisite for someone living a life. I haven’t encountered any of her other books yet, but this one has become almost iconic for me.

Honorable mentions: The Kite of Stars by Dean Francis Alfar and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.


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