Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review A Wish and a Hope and a Dream by M. Darusha Wehm.
Fiction Friday: A Wish and a Hope and a Dream
Today’s review is a rather interesting one. This story is told in second person, which means the protagonist is referred to as “you.” As in you, the reader. As an aside, I figured I’d get this out of the way. I’m not a fan of second person stories. I’m always a fan of character stories where I’m forced to care about someone. After all, this isn’t my tale, it’s theirs. I’ve noticed that second person has been a trend for a while now and you’d think it’d be one of those things that would never catch on and would be relegated to fan fiction. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Our story today is A Wish and a Hope and a Dream from Cast of Wonders. You can listen to it here. It’s a princess story that even though it’s told in second person, I feel the plot truly is something anyone, boys and girls in their youth, can relate to. So, let’s begin.
The story involves two central characters. One of whom is Ines, who is your friend (again, second person) and of course the ambiguous “you.” You both want to be princesses, which in their world is a real possibility. People can grow up to be real princesses, but these two have a predicament. They spend their entire story waiting for that moment to come. In the end, their dreams do not come true and you’re forced to live out your lives as an ordinary adult, having the hopes and dreams of being a princess within you.
I kind of rushed through it because there really isn’t all that much to say. However, this story touches on a larger theme. It’s a plot I’m sure anyone who was a kid back in the day can all relate to. How many have spent their childhood dreaming of being something that was impossible? Maybe the young girls wanted to be a princess, but maybe a Pokémon trainer, a student at Hogwarts? Or how about an adventurer, a warrior in space. Pirates, ninjas, knights? We had so many dreams and desires that this story touches upon another truth.
We’re forced to be adults. And being an adult SUCKS! Dealing with taxes, your job, politics, marriage, having kids of your own. You miss that joy you had when you were a kid where all you did was pretend you could be whoever you wanted, even if it was impossible. You knew it had to happen, right?
So that’s what this touches upon. It’s less about princesses and more about the unrealistic dreams of your childhood. This “you” character wanted to be a princess that she accepted her life as an adult when she realized that she and her friend were in debt and had to get real jobs. AKA the real world.
As far as the story goes, I understood that mentality so much. I wanted that sense of adventure when I was a kid, but that never came. Instead, I had to find a job and support myself in trying times. It’s not as fun as stopping some bad guy from taking over the world with your best friends and maybe a cutesy sidekick. This captures our reality to something anyone, adults included, can understand without question.
I know I’m talking a bit about myself rather than the story, but it’s one of those tales where you know what it’s leading into the first few paragraphs.
There are only two characters worth mentioning. The ambiguous “you” and your friend Ines. You two have dreams of being princesses, but you come to realize that fairytale endings aren’t real as you live your lives wallowing in college debt and a normal paying job rather than a real career. The life of a young college grad in 2017, essentially.
In regards to the ambiguous “you,” this is my main issue with second person in general. Based on the plot and dialogue, “you” is mainly a girl. Being a male reader, I simply created a generic protagonist in my head to fill in the role. To be absolutely clear on this, my complaint isn’t that the protagonist is female (and therefore, I have to be one too), but if there’s a stand-in gender anyway, it would make more sense to make the person an actual character.
I may be overthinking this way too much since this is second person. Theoretically, I don’t have to be the stand-in character, but I still want a hero I can get behind. Regardless, I did understand what the author was saying in this story, characters aside.
It feels less of a story and more of a fairy tale lesson. The author is speaking to the reader reminding them about all of their youth and what young girls may have imagined back in the day. Its message is clear and to flip a coin here, the second person might have actually worked. This story is for the teens and adults who want that sense of wonder back and to remember that their childhood was always there.
Again, not much to add on the characters.
The writing was good if a little simple. The audio was okay, but there were spots of silence that lasted longer than it needed to be. Sometimes, I wondered if my iPhone paused because the narrator took too long between sequences. I like things a little more fast-paced. The ending line was a nice touch. Since many can guess where the story is going by the first few lines, I figured I’d add the last few lines of dialogue.
“You finish your beer, thinking of those days when all it took for a magical transformation was a rolled up piece of cardboard and a pillowcase dress. You flick your finger over your phone, Rhona’s beautiful face filling the screen. Those blue eyes. That red hair. Can’t you live in your imagination with her just a little longer?
After all, you’ve always been a princess. Haven’t you?”
This is what brings it all together. Even now, you’re still who you wanted to be originally. You can still go on these adventures, even if it isn’t to battle monsters and save the world. You can still do that. As a writer, I can make these things that I loved and want other younger kids to experience. It’s what I hope for the future.
In short, while I’m not a fan of second person stories, this was a perfect reminder that even today, you’re still young. You still have a childhood and a fantastic mind that goes with you. We can still experience it for as long as we can before that curse of adulthood takes us over. After all, we can still imagine, right?
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.