I’m not completely sold on this story told in alternating points of view of two women who at first seem very different. First we see Marie with her children on their way to investigate a puppy advertised for sale because Marie is a mother who spoils her kids, although she says her kids are “well-loved.” Marie might be on mood-altering medication, given what the sight of the glorious sun on a cornfield does to her. She seems a little too happy. Callie on the other hand is trying to hold her family together with no money and she has a child who, at the very least, is hyper-active and probably worse. And their filthy dog has a had a pup that they can’t keep so she is hoping this stranger who called, Marie, will buy it. When Marie and the kids arrive, I think the reader realizes that Marie and Callie are not that different, and that it was luck or fate or some other invisible force that took them in opposite directions, the same force that decides the fate of the puppy, Callie’s son. And both Marie and Callie see it too. The question I have here is, whose story is this? Callie? Marie? The puppy? I find the two points of view frustrating, especially because Marie and Callie sound alike. We begin with Marie’s point of view and she does change along the way, but the ending is in Callie’s point of view and that is the voice we’re left with.
May 28, 2007: “Puppy” by George Saunders