Monday, August 3, 2009

At My Window with a Broken Wing by Ric Wasley

TITLE: At My Window with a Broken Wing
AUTHOR: Ric Wasley
PUBLISHER: Wild Child Publishing
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 15k)
GENRE: Mainstream drama
COST: $3.25

An encounter with a girl too good to be a groupie has one musician reflecting on his own values…

The blurb on the publisher’s website is a tad misleading. It presents the story from, “What if a girl…?” and “Suppose she meets…?” which suggests the story is about her. It’s not. Far from it. This short story is told in 1st person, from the musician’s POV, and the girl in question doesn’t even come into real play until a third of the way through. So when you buy this character study, it’s not to discover why a girl would seek out that kind of situation. It’s to learn about a young man in 1966 starting to discover who he is as a human being.

The narrator seems like your average college musician from the sixties. He does weekend gigs, parties hard, somehow manages to stay in school. At the top of the story, he seems nearly a stereotype, but as he intercepts a sorority pledge from getting treated like crap, he starts to take on a little more life. He hooks up with Debbie, who, as his friend is always quick to remind him, is a good girl, and a weekend they plan together, where he assumes they’ll do the usual partying and sex thing, turns into something else entirely. He thinks she is looking to be debauched, to experience what it’s like to be a bad girl, and while that might partially be the case, it’s not where the story’s depths rests. No, that falls onto how the narrator reacts to it all, his reticence to smear her, and his caustic behavior afterward.

For all its tender prose, this is not a sugar-coated fairy tale. It is not a romance. I wouldn’t even call it a love story. This is the careful presentation of how one young man learns and changes from a very specific set of circumstances, and even more, how he doesn’t change. The narrator could have come across as a real jerk in this, considering some of his behavior. He doesn’t. He’s just a young man, who made some good choices and some not so good choices. It’s incredibly real and could easily happen today as it did then. The end result is a bittersweet character study that surprises you when it’s done for refusing to take an easy road.


8/10 – Charming and real


8/10 – The narrator is the one who really shines in this


7/10 – Surprisingly gentle without being preachy

Entertainment value

7/10 – Nothing earth-shattering, but a tender character study that hits deeper than you first think

World building

7/10 – The sense of time isn’t as strong as I would have expected, could have almost been anywhen



1 comment:

Ric Wasley said...

Thanks for your very thoughtful review.
You really nailed it and got exactly what I was trying to say!

Best regards