This story holds a special place in my heart. Let’s go back to nine-teen eighty-something (I know it sounds like something from the Goldbergs but I don’t remember exactly when) while I was in elementary school. We were assigned this story to read. I don’t remember much about what I read back then (I wasn’t much of a reader then) but there were a few short stories that stuck out to me (I’ll get to the rest later).
What is it about? A man, woman and son receive and weird monkey’s paw that supposedly grants three wishes. They make these wishes despite being warned that bad things will happen. I won’t go into more detail since I hate having things spoiled.
The story isn’t very long and some would consider it quite short. I usually like stories of this length, but this one is a little too short I think. While I loved the story when I was a kid and have very nostalgic memories of it, reading now it isn’t quite as great as I would like. The characters were interesting, but needed to be fleshed out a little more. I am not talking about describing them in more detail, which many authors love to do, but I could do without. I am talking more about their feelings and desires to help build more an emotional connection to the reader. The author does talk some about how they feel, but that is mostly around sadness which is to be expected here.
The author seems to be trying to get to the twists in the middle and the end and there is little regard of how to get there. To be fair I can’t say for certain that my similar story does a better job at this, but I tried. The story could have done with at least 1,000 more words to help build the connection. I know the author probably had the twist ideas and just wanted to get them out there, and it was the twists that made me like it as a kid. As an adult I think he should have spent more time working on the story.
In the end though it is a cool story and short enough that you shouldn’t debate whether or not to read it. It will only take a few minutes.