double dutch (for book club!)

I just finished reading a collection of short stories called Double Dutch for my book club. It's been a while since I read short stories as opposed to novels, but I have to say, this one was weird and a little dark and kinda spooky, and I really liked it!

The very first story is about a single mom who has a fairly important and well paying job, but she doesn't have any friends, or hobbies, and her baby has no daddy. Well, I'm sure he does have a daddy somewhere, but in this story she's single-handedly raising this kid. She admits to not bonding with him, but insists that she does love him. She talks about how he's a horrible child. He doesn't share, doesn't make friends at daycare, is always in trouble for hitting (he's now 2).

Then, he starts talking in his sleep. She's convinced it's Arabic, and that her son is the reincarnation of a terrorist. Not even kidding. She starts researching known terrorists who died shortly before his conception. She goes to see a fortune teller, or some sort of medium. The woman laughs at her for thinking her son is a terrorist. Then the woman gossips about her to her mother and the other ladies at aquafit, further embarrassing her.

Then the mom records her son's late-night ramblings, and gives it to someone to translate. In the meantime, someone comes over to babysit. Everything goes well. She does mention that the kid mumbled in his sleep a bit, but it was just gibberish and he quickly settled.

At this point, I'm thinking - okay, either this kid is actually the reincarnation of a terrorist, and now this mother is going to have to decide what to do with him. What the heck would a person do if they knew that their two year old was evil? For real?


Mom is just freaking bat-shit crazy, and the kid just acts up because she's a shitty mother and he has no friends, and she's unhappy and depressed and isn't really mothering or loving this kid at all, and come on really, what un-loved two year old wouldn't go to daycare and not listen, and hit other kids, and just be naughty and unaffectionate? Huh? Which one?

Anyway, at the end of the short story, the results of the tape come back, and it's.... something entirely different.

You'll find out when you read it.

The library has an e-copy.


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