Genre: Science Fiction/Coming of Age/Novelette
This was published around March of 2021. It is a coming of age story about Heart and her father Sonny. They live off grid in a USA which has suffered a lot of environmental damage. They move on every time Sonny fears that God has discovered where they are. So, Sonny is nuts, you may say, early doors. And we learn early on that Heart is covered in scars of old cuts and burns which Sonny admits, with great sorrow, he inflicted on her. What on earth (an anagram of Heart) is going on? Read on …
This is Price Doom’s first published fiction. He lives in California with his children. When not writing, he teaches math and science to special education students.
Sonny provides every possible care for his child – even trying to find her friends to play with. But every time they take a step into ‘the real world’, it ends in flight. As a result there is quite a bit of repetition in this short work. However, this reader found the repeated phrases and actions (eg the regular instruction to Heart to pack her three most important things) was a kind of threnody to their lives.
As Heart grows, she becomes disgruntled with Sonny’s explanations for why they live the way they do. It is a hard world for a teenager to live in. Her questions become more searching: his answers satisfy her less. The point of view is largely Heart’s from age 4 to age 15. It is through her eyes we see the rifle taped to the inside of whichever mobile home they’re currently living in, as well as Sonny’s ability to rub an alligator’s belly until it falls asleep and allows him to pick it up and return it to its park. We also catch glimpses of Sonny when Heart is absent, and these tend to provide more puzzles than they solve.
When Heart becomes a teenager she begins to need more than Sonny. And, odd as Sonny may appear, there are echoes of his oddness in the others that Heart corresponds with.
The end appears disastrous. The only saving grace being Sonny’s love for Heart. He puts his life in her hands. And that is where the story ends. You will have to decide for yourself who Sonny really is, and what (if anything) happens next.
Is this worth your time? “You know it, buddy.”
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: Judi Moore
Approximate word count: 18-19,000 words