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Blood Types by Julie Smith
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This is yet another short story and teaser for an introduction to a series. This is the introduction to the Rebecca Schwartz series. As a short story, it is good for carrying around to fill otherwise wasted time. Although a pleasant time filler for me, I recommend these short story teasers for my English as a Foreign Language students. A teacher using any of the Julie Smith short story teasers for learning purposes has to read the story first for themselves and then must prepare to provide cultural background notes for students; without that a foreign language learner will become mired in irrelevant (for the non-native speaker) references and bored.

After reading the story, some interesting questions for students are “Why is the story titled “Blood Types?” What is Munchausen Syndrome. What is the difference between it and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?

Rebecca is a lawyer. She receives a phone call from former classmate and boyfriend Gary. Rebecca graduated from law school; Gary did not, too much of a dilatant. Which was probably the reason Gary asked Rebecca about the proper form for a holographic will. (Another area which will require teacher clarification). In these first few pages we know that this is going to be a story about who gets the money. Three candidates for inheritance are baby daughter Laurie, brother Michael, and sister Jeri, who had been replaced by Michael as guardian of Laurie should anything happen to the parents.

The love of Gary’s life is daughter Laurie, not wife Stephanie. However, Laurie seems to spend a lot of time in the hospital. Maybe Laurie is lucky to have mom Stephanie as a nurse … or maybe not. Stephanie is so devoted to Laurie that she dismisses other nurses and devotes her full time to the care of Laurie, who seems to be getting worse.

Gary and Stephanie die (not a spoiler). Daughter Laurie is in the hospital but, in the absence of Stephanie, seems to be getting better. Why is this? The reader will have immediate suspicions which will soon, and predictably, be confirmed. The surprise element of the story relates to 1) motive for what the reader immediately guessed and 2) the ultimate resolution of the story. Were the deaths an accident? If not, why did they happen? What will now happen to baby Laurie?

All Julie Smith short stories are well written. The only negative I can find is the great number of characters that appear in each one. For me, the good writing outweighs any extra work I might have to do to keep up. Realistically, if I want character development, I will go to the novels for which the Smith short stories are a teaser. ( )
  ajarn7086 | Jun 14, 2016 |
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