Last week, Margot at Joyfully Retired reviewed "Roses, Rhododendron" by Alice Adams. The story was originally published in The New Yorker in 1976, and can also be found in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. It sounded good, so I began to read:
"One dark and rainy Boston spring of many years ago, I spent all my after-school and evening hours in the living room of our antique-crammed Cedar Street flat, writing down what the Ouija board said to my mother. My father, a spoiled and rowdy Irishman, a sometime engineer, had run off to New Orleans with a girl, and my mother hoped to learn from the board if he would come back."
What the Ouija board told her mother, was to take all the antiques, move down south, and open a store in a nice small town. The narrator goes on:
"That is what we did, and shortly thereafter, for the first time in my life, I fell violently and permanently in love: with a house, with a family of three people, with an area of countryside."
The rest of the story describes her relationship with the family - a relationship that continues even after she moves away. It is beautifully written, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's hard to say much more because the details are fuzzy... but so are the details of the big game. Obviously, neither got my full attention. Searching for some sort of summary, I found this sentence:
"Roses, Rhododendron" contrasts the idealized outward appearance of a family with the actual dysfunctional state of their relations."
I suppose that will have to do.
Short Story Monday is hosted by The Book Mine Set.