Review: “Monsters” by Stewart O’Nan

Monsters: A Halloween Short StoryMonsters: A Halloween Short Story by Stewart O’Nan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This coming-of-age tale is profoundly moving. Despite its inclusion in an anthology of dark fantasy and horror short stories, one won’t find fantasy nor tradition horror here. It’s realism at its best–capturing a disturbing life event in the moment it changes the young teen. Highly recommended.

Mark is a shy teen, a follower, who finds himself mostly doing whatever next door neighbor, Derek, wants to do since his older brother Peter has now entered high school and has moved on to other companions. Derek wants them both to dress as The Creature from the Black Lagoon for the upcoming church haunted house–so they will. Derek wants them to shoot BBs at bottles in his backyard–so they do.

The mundanity of youth entertaining themselves shatters as Derek takes a BB in the eye . . .

Mark was holding the gun and harbors the guilt. Eight reactions emerge as each boy, his older sibling, and his parents embrace the accident.

This story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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