A Story

by Lynn Freed
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An extremely powerful and skillful story, “Sunshine” works on many levels. This may be a knee jerk reaction, but I feel that “Sunshine” tackles the classic theme of man’s arrogant struggle against nature while also serving as a feminist response to Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Lynn, I'm so excited to see "Sunshine" here. I loved hearing you read this at Squaw Valley last summer, and have been waiting anxiously to see it in print. A delight and inspiration on so many levels. I got a strange sort of ache in my chest after reading this--it was that good.

I think Maya has hit this nail on the head when she says that "Sunshine" tackles "man's arrogant struggle against nature." I was overjoyed with the ending, even though it was a tad brutal. But Sunshine was a wild thing, and her escape was just as it should be. Couldn't have been done better.

The visual impact was amazing and mesmerizing. The impact man's cruelty on an innocent and his ignorance of possible retaliation was superbly conveyed. The ending satisfied the reader's desire for harsh justice as it collides with "civilized" man.

Wow! I have heard Lynn read at Bread Loaf, but never anything like this. I wonder what inspired this story.

Sharp ending. The narrator's two last questions hint at the reason for writing the story in the first place. "Sunshine" is a revelation against the blindness that comes.

As a therapist who has treated children who have lived through brutal molestation, deprivation, and sadism, I felt great visceral satisfaction at the ending. Thank you, Lynn.

Where was punishment for the community at large, all of whom were criminal accessories to child molestation, especially Grace, who was only too eager to cage girls, enslave them in the kitchen, and groom the poor little creatures for Julian, all because she preferred another two-week reprieve from Julian at the expense of sexual abuse of another minor? There is nothing in this universe that can excuse abuse, however indirect, of the most precious souls among us. I would've preferred an ending that included justice at least for Grace, Dr. McKenzie, and Dunlop, too. The author almost achieved poetic justice when she wrote, ". . . and they ran, one for a kitchen knife, another to lock the doors and windows of the house." I wanted the girl to go after everyone responsible. But the author stopped short, employing a cheap shot at men by singling out only Julian for punishment and--this is crucial--denying justice and closure due all the girls who had been victims previously. Characters should never get off without some form of redemption. In spite of an ending that let me down, Sunshine is a very good story.

Powerful, hard, and unflinching. Way to go, Lynn Freed.

Okay, that's the harshest sunshine I've ever felt! Phenomenal story, Ms. Freed.