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Ah, Rat (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 28 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Kindle Singles
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

According to Liza Lentini and David Mouzon of Discover Magazine, rats can survive being flushed down a toilet, tread water for three days, and fall 50 feet without being injured. What these rodent experts probably don't know (but I'm sure would delight them) is that rats can inadvertently repair broken marriages, too. At least, the one in Richard Babcock's Kindle Single can. In this short story, Doug and Ellen, a well-to-do couple with a new baby, decide to take an overdue vacation on Martha's Vineyard. The delayed respite is due to an indiscretion on Doug's part, which Ellen can't seem to find it in her heart to forgive. Maybe this time away will afford her some new perspective; maybe there's hope for their marriage after all? But not with a furry foe stalking the quaint cabin where the seeds of reconciliation might be planted! Babcock's tender and utterly relatable tale is ah-mazing. --Erin Kodicek

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Product Details

  • File Size: 80 KB
  • Print Length: 28 pages
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0077GQMFM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,559 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Until stepping down in 2011, Richard Babcock was the longtime editor in chief of Chicago magazine. Before that, he spent more than a decade as a top editor at New York magazine. He is the author of the best-selling Kindle Singles stories "My Wife's Story" and "Ah, Rat." "Are You Happy Now?" is Babcock's third novel, after Martha Calhoun (1988) and Bow's Boy (2002). Raised in Woodstock, Illinois, Babcock graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Gioia Diliberto, an acclaimed biographer and novelist. They have one son, Joe. Babcock has taught at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Knox College, Loyola University of Chicago, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition to writing and teaching, Babcock occupies himself in following the Chicago Cubs, a team he credits for a lifetime's schooling in the "nuances of failure and loss."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S. Richards TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A couple, burdened by guilt and anger, rent a cabin on Martha's Vineyard one summer. Here, the husband, Doug, is eager to atone, hoping to salvage his marriage, but his wife is quick, and right, to point out that a "marriage is made up of moments," and each one counts in the life of a marriage. And in this cabin, Doug is given the odd chance of proving himself to his wife, a chance to make her appreciate him again.

I really liked this idea of moments, of those very things that make or break a relationship: the moment you do something, right or wrong, and the moment that such things are found out. There are always secrets we keep, and in this story, we see two secrets, one more innocuous than the other but just as profound in its effect on the marriage. So, will this man prove himself and win his wife back?

This is maybe a forty-minute read, but it's one of those stories that's more complex than it seems at first. It seems only to be a simple story about a man trying to kill a rat, but it's more than that. I'm usually not one to feel any sympathy for a guy like Doug, but the author wrote this character in such an honest, and even in an almost endearing way, that I found myself liking him and hoping he did soften Ellen's anger. He's every man who's had a bad moment and hopes to make a wrong right. A very nicely written short story that's both simple and complex in what it presents, and skillfully told in an easy but smart voice.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on February 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Ah, Rat" is a short story about a few hours in the lives of Doug, Ellen, and their infant son Jeffrey. Doug has confessed to an indiscretion with a coworker, but can Ellen forgive and forget? And did Doug completely clear his conscience?

As the story begins, the family is off on a two-week vacation in Martha's Vineyard. The annual family vacation has become a tradition, but this one has a special meaning: it's an opportunity for either forgiveness and reconciliation, or for Doug and Ellen's relationship to dissolve.

Then the rat appears, a pesky little rodent that seems determined to drive Doug and Ellen nuts. There's no middle ground here--it's all-out war with the rat. Little did the rat know that the stakes were much higher than just its survival.

"Ah, Rat" was a nice story, a little slice of life tale of a married couple's strained relationship and their attempt to get their lives back on track. It was well written, and a good short read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JustWondering on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's about a rat, but it is even more about trying to correct a mistake for which there isn't any apparent redemption. This is a worthy addition to what I hope will be a long list of Richard Babcock titles published as Kindle Singles. If you enjoyed My Wife's Story, you will enjoy this one. A nice 45 minute diversion from thinking about the "rats" in your own life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Warfield on March 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I first read Richard Babcock's Kindle Single "My Wife's Story" I knew I had found an author I liked. More than anything, I was delighted to see another Single by Babcock called "Ah, Rat." This one is just as good, with the humor, truth and honesty.

Doug, Ellen and their baby son Jeffrey are on Martha's Vineyard for two weeks of vacation. Doug made a mistake after the baby was born with a woman in his office, and Ellen found out and now he is trying to make amends and get the marriage back on track again. He wants to prove himself to Ellen that he is husband and father and protector. He wants the peace and quiet of their vacation rental house as a backdrop against which he can make his attempts.

Enter the rat. He scratches around in the house all night and is a master of evasiveness. Doug is up all night listening for him. He worries that the rat might get into the baby's crib and bite little Jeffrey. Ellen worries about the same thing and about facing the rat herself.

I love this story and wound up loving the rat, too. This is one that you really should read and for the quality of writing and the story itself, it's a bargain. Plus, how the rat fits into the marriage is quite important in the grand scheme of things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader on February 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Doug, Ellen and their small baby Jeffrey are on vacation at Martha's Vineyard. Doug had not been sure that Ellen would agree to go on their usual two week vacation. Their marriage was on rocky ground at the moment. Shortly after Jeffrey was born, Doug was feeling a little neglected by Ellen, so he had engaged in a small indiscretion. But Ellen had found out and their relationship was strained. Then their first night is when the rat makes its presence known. Doug knows he must kill the rat, if only to prove to Ellen that she can rely on him again.
What a wonderful find this short story is, I am not usually a lover of short stories they tend to lack detail and characterisation. But that certainly was not the case here. The writer easily imparts the tension between Ellen and Doug to the reader. Doug had behaved stupidly and he knew it. Ellen seemed determined to make him suffer. I loved the way the author described how Doug was feeling, that Doug had lost his instinct of how to be with Ellen.The rat symbolises more than just a verminous rodent, it becomes the means to Doug of regaining Ellen's trust.
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