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Whole At Last

Father had shot himself in the head after being discovered in Disgrace. We didn’t know what kind of Disgrace, but apparently it was the catching kind because we were all in it, too. We didn’t care what other people thought, but Mother took it hard. She came from a very old family and she was very proud. Helen said it was the Disgrace that was making Mother crazy.

“To Make Us Whole,” by Amber Sparks seems to me to be a story of disbelief. Written the way that it is, from a retrospective point of view calling upon the memories of childhood, this story acts more as a morbidly entertaining fable than an actual account of what happened. The imagination of a child, especially one dealing with the loss of a parent in such a way, most certainly contorts to cope with the events that occur. So the ideas of a mother wailing in the night and drawing on the walls, a poverty stricken household suddenly blessed with a magical tub, and the things that come out of the tub become the coping mechanism of a young child told things that soothe rather than explain.

Even the end, with the replica family appearing after the brother seems to drown, takes the tone of a child imagining things to more fully understand the situation. The missing family members are out there somewhere, and soon you will join them, and then, at last, you will be whole. No more broken family.

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