Little Mouse is about a little girl and her attempts at coming to grips with her parents’ separation. The tale focusses on her trying to make sense of the ugly things grownups do and showcases the emotional vulnerability and dependency of children.
Mia is the only child of a recently divorced couple. The daddy is abusive, physically and emotionally, but he has never laid a hand on Mia whom he calls his little mouse. Mia’s mom, however, is not so lucky. Mia lives with her mom full-time, but you get the impression the couple received joint custody of Mia, the details of which are not so important right now.
Mia’s dad was supposed to take her for the weekend, but he cancels at the last minute. He pays them a surprise visit later the same day and matters deteriorate quickly. It gets all too much for Mia who, it turns out, is much more than just a meek little girl.
The author originally asked me to write a blurb for the story, but I was so blown away after reading it, I felt compelled to write a review. It is a beautiful and sad story and domestic abuse is ugly, but Williamson succeeds in bringing beauty solely through his ability as word artist.
Williamson uses imagery that are tonally precise, that conveys little Mia’s perspective–how she views the relationship between her mom and dad, how she sees the world—with painful accuracy. The way Williamson describes Mia’s emotional evolution and how it informs her view of her surroundings and people in her life is so real, you forget you’re reading a tale of paranormal horror.
Writers use words to create feeling and convey emotion, and if a writer is expert enough, he’ll allow you to see the created world through the eyes of his characters. Williamson succeeds remarkably well in this regard.
Here is an example:
“She sighed melodramatically and blew her bangs out of her eyes. Rolling over, she stared at the underside of the tabletop, crossing her eyes until the crayon drawings on the rough particleboard split into dancing, blurry doubles of sad trees and dark houses and tall, angry men.”
This one also stood out for me:
“Nearby, He-Man reclined in a too-pink lounge chair and watched television with Strawberry Shortcake. A thimble of beer sat on a thread spool beside him. Sometimes He-Man let Strawberry Shortcake have a tiny taste of beer when She-Ra wasn’t looking.
He-Man was tired from a long day at work and told She-Ra to move her lazy ass. He was hungry.”
Of course, there are many more examples of woven magic in the story, but one needs to tread carefully when writing a review, especially of a short story. You don’t want to spoil it, but trust me, just the imagery alone makes this story worth your while. The rich descriptions, little details here and there, are exquisitely done. I remember sitting back, after reading Little Mouse, thinking, “What the hell just happened?!” And I wasn’t referring to a scene in the story, but my emotional reaction to the overall story.
It therefore came as no surprise when I learned later that Little Mouse received an Honorable Mention this year from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest.
I’m thankful to the author for the early copy of Little Mouse. Reading it has made me all the more richer.