Buttons by Jessica Hollander

12 Nov

Over at Alice Blue Review, Jessica Hollander has this nice tale for us. At the end of the second paragraph, the mother says, “I don’t want any observations from you. She doesn’t need to hear it.” But we apparently need it, and IT WORKS, as the speaker tells us about the world of the story, from the lemon cleaner and wet band-aids smell of her grandma’s house to her mom’s movements. These details attach such a definite personality to the protagonist, one that is a melding of the actions and the speaker’s voice. I LIKE THE WAY THIS STORY CREEPS ME OUT A LITTLE BUT ALSO MAKES ME WANT TO BE THERE.

Before the trip to Grandma’s, I emptied my closet and cut the buttons from my clothes. I stuffed them in my pockets and ran my hands through the cold plastic discs the whole way to Lansing.

Mom said, “Be nice.” She had bologna and Miracle Whip and a tiny tin of caviar in the cooler between us. She had Wonder Bread and china cups in a plastic grocery bag. “I don’t want any observations from you. She doesn’t need to hear it.”

Grandma’s house smelled like lemon cleaner and wet band-aids. She had jars of buttons around her living room: a jar of blue, a jar of green, a jar of red. On her coffee table with the clawed feet, a half jar of pink. On her stained-black fireplace, a quarter jar of gray.

One Response to “Buttons by Jessica Hollander”

  1. ce. November 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Man. I love Alice Blue Review, but I always tend to forget about them until I see something like this.

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