Monday, March 24, 2008

"Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield

What is it about some short stories that they can put you in your place and make you feel like a complete heel without ever directly pointing a finger? "Miss Brill" is a three page vignette of a woman people-watching at a public band performance in a park. She goes there every week and enjoys the miniature "performances" unfolding around her, listening in on snippets of the lives of others, smiling and envisioning wonderful things for those she sees. We've all done that. And we've all passed our snarky little judgments on those we've deemed unworthy for no reason other than we didn't like the way they looked. But guess what? Life is not a private performance. The others we're watching are watching us, too. How many kind-hearted Miss Brill's would I have made cry if they could have heard my thoughtless remarks?

I closed the book on this gorgeous story feeling thoroughly chastised. Once again I am reminded of all the work I have ahead of me if I really want to be the kind of person I would admire.


This review is also found on my blog at Books 'N Border Collies

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