as a project separate-from-but-similar to my december short story advent calendar, i am listening to a bunch of these FREE audio shorts from nightfire, and the name of this secondary project is MEET YOUR OWN DAMN READING CHALLENGE, KAREN, YOU SLOW-ASS READER!
anyway, this story is one that i’d read before, but remember enjoying more than three-
stars’ cats’ worth, no matter what my old review has to say about it. i give it four this time, because it’s damn good, whether you read it for free or listen to it for free. i’ll reprint the old review here, which you can read or not, but i’m afraid there will be no audio version of my review. for the story, though, you have options:
FREE FOR YOUR EARS:
FREE FOR YOUR EYES:
OLD REVIEW BEGINS…NOW:
in case you can’t see how cool that cover is:
this is a short story i read ages ago, but never reviewed, and the big gaping blank lack-of-review in a column of reviewed books was irritating me. so here we are.
this is like the cute anime version of Cat’s Eye.
it is about peer pressure, mean adolescent girls, sacrifices, and conformity.
in this story, little girls all come with corresponding girl-sized talking ponies, complete with wings and a horn. they go everywhere together, and friendships blossom until the time comes in every girl-and-pony’s life to attend a “cutting-out party.” this will establish their place in the larger community of girls-and-ponies, but it requires a sacrifice to fit in,
“If we like you, and if your Pony does okay, we’ll let you hang out with us.”
Sunny says, “I can’t wait to have friends!”
oh, so desperate to be part of the cool crowd.
but in order to fit in, the pony of each little girl must choose to give up two of the following: their horn, their wings, or their voice. most ponies choose to keep their voice, and barbara’s pony sunny is no different. communication is more important to ponies than self-defense or flight (escape), and probably also to the girls themselves, although Barbara only speaks when she thinks she’ll get it right, so the girls are already choosing to make sacrifices of themselves without the corresponding ceremony.
however, there is a horrible surprise that no one tells little girls.View Spoiler »because while it is necessary to give up two things to be “in” with TheOtherGirls, the ponies of TheOtherGirls also require a sacrifice in order to accept them into their clique: their third thing. so the ponies have to give up everything that makes them special in order to belong. and, more creepy and insidiously, the ponies willingly give away what makes them strong so that when the one thing that is important to them gets taken away, they won’t be able to fight back. which makes me think of one of the best moments in True Detective. you know, besides every single moment.
when discussing how a little girl has any idea about sex, specifically sexual violence:
“How does she even know about this stuff?”
“Girls always know before boys.”
“Why is that?”
“Because they have to.”
because i am not overlooking the mythological connection between unicorns and virginity. « Hide Spoiler
mean girls, why are you so mean? a lot of it has to do with this sense of absent parents/supervision, and how kids will regress to their primal lord-of-the-flies selves without structure
She has a mother who’s a pediatrician and a father who’s a cardiologist and a small barn and giant trees shading the grass where the Ponies are playing games.
parents are absent in this story, and as important to the little girls as trees or barns. completely inconsequential.
and the final blow–the final horrible twist. well.
kids, and ponies, can be so cruel…
link to read it yourself: