Friday, September 7, 2018

You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I'll Pretend Like I Never Met You, by Maria Dahvana Headley

★★★★★ Funny, Sad, and Magical

(Modern Fantasy) A washed-up magician drinking whisky at 9 AM meets a mysterious British lady, who leads him into the worst day of his life. (6,778 words; Time: 22m)

"You Pretend Like You Never Met Me, and I'll Pretend Like I Never Met You," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 100, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2018.501 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Wells isn’t a bad guy, even though he certainly hasn’t made much of himself. Tangling with the Angel of Death at 14 is bound to have an effect on a person, so we're inclined to cut him some slack.

The story does a great job of hinting that Wells really does have some real magic, even if he doesn’t admit to it. The behavior of the bag of tricks being exhibit #1. So when the kids want him to raise their friend from the dead, we’re sure he can do it—if only he can make himself do it.

In the final confrontation with the Angel, he gives it his father’s soul, which he’s carried all these years, in exchange for the little boy’s life. He loses the bag and all of its contents except his mother’s wedding ring. But he doesn’t need it anymore. And it looks as though he’s found a family. It's very touching and satisfying too.

The story makes good use of humor to keep from being too serious. The lemon car and lemon suit are prefect.

Con: We know Caro’s mourning her son, but she comes across as cruel, not grief-stricken. That makes Wells’s reward at the end seem hollow.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. An unusual story, but worth reading.

    Caro came across as grief-stricken to me, and VERY angry at her husband for good reason.