Top positive review
61 of 63 people found this helpful
Matched for each other for mostly the wrong reasons
on July 8, 2011
The sweet taste you get popping a wild strawberry into your mouth is about the same sensation you get from Matthew Ducker's Kindle Short "The Eight Foot Woman."
Both are a quick treat, sugary and with just hint of zing to savor. Both are more of a delight because you only get to enjoy them infrequently. At once affecting and affectionate, the story's last sentence is especially pleasing.
But back to the beginning: Married to one another, Trevor and Cheryl are two slightly off-kilter beings, people a little mismatched with life who are absolutely meant for each other. He's a mechanic who has recently lost his job in a transmission shop. She works in a fitness center. They live in northern Virginia in a typical American town populated with the type of "dutiful churchgoers" who "attach an ichthys symbol to their mailbox so even the postal carrier knows how devout they are."
He was disfigured in an accident the night of their high school prom. He was severely burned and she was responsible. He has a name for the reaction people get the first time they see his scars and bulging eye, an expression he calls "swallowing their face."
She's a six-foot, one-inch Amazon - I imagined a larger-than-life Daryl Hanna - who gave up a promising basketball career to commit herself to her injured husband and soul mate.
Both have drawn into themselves. Both have wasted something of their lives and both carry around a burden of guilt along with the realization that "if wasted potential is a shame, then it's a shame that everybody knows well." They're mutually dependent, yet distant.
Cheryl tells the story, and its fulcrum is her high school class reunion where woozy from drinking too much from the punch bowl the former athlete tests whether she still has the right stuff to make a dunk." I started running, and the basket seemed to bend over as I left the ground. I felt the rim scraping my hands, and then the ball bounced off my knees, and I knew I had succeeded."
The reunion, a comic romp of a scene, leads the self-pitying pair to reexamine and regain some of what they've lost. Their story is genuine, it's as funny as it is engaging and in their portrayal they become real people who relate to each other the way real people do.
You can't help but cheer them on. For Cheryl and Trevor there's a glint of blue sky behind the storm. After you've spent the time to get to know them, that's something worth cheering about.[give it 4.5 stars]