A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
“Of course,” said the headmistress, her spectacles directed towards the top of Mrs Sharp’s head, “I understand that many mothers work nowadays, but unfortunately they are producing a generation of latchkey children running wild. Far be it for me to judge the parents’ circumstances, but I think a child’s welfare comes first.” She smiled toothily.
Poor Mrs. Sharp. She’s asked by her son’s headmistress to stop by the school for a talk. It doesn’t go well. It seems George is disruptive, untidy, a bully, and it is all because Mrs. Sharp works instead of staying at home.
We’re purposely set on edge by the headmistress. I mean, she’s just awful. We as readers get as riled up and indignant as Mrs. Sharp. We can’t wait for the comeuppance that’s surely coming.
But Agnes Owens isn’t the type of author to make things that easy. She toys with our expectations and in the end we feel a little like she’s played a cruel joke on us. It’s the kind of tale you’ll see throughout her Complete Short Stories—clever, darkly funny, shaking up stale plots and stereotypes.
Review by Matthew