My Heart is Either Broken, by Megan Abbott (From Dangerous Women)
There are only a handful of stories I have ever read which I dislike because of how well written they are. But “My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott is one of them. I will reiterate before going on that this was a very well written story which did exactly what it set out to do and I read it in a single sitting. Even beyond that if I see anything written by Megan Abbott which doesn’t appear to be written to depress me I’ll gladly give her writing another chance because I was very drawn in. But I read to relax and recharge and this did the opposite.
The story is actually a reasonably simple one. Told from the point of view of a man who’s child disappeared while his wife was watching him. The story begins several weeks after the girl has gone missing and the suspicions have began to fall on his wife who isn’t acting how people want her to be acting.
Her husband sees the truth, that she is miserable and hiding those emotions but the press simply sees a woman who is acting as if she isn’t all that upset. From there the natural heartbreaks occur. After the police and other people continue to try to poke holes in his wife’s story he begins to question it himself.
The specifics are important more to the tone of the story than the story itself and the tone is nearly perfect if you want to get inside the head of someone who has lost a child and is beginning to lose his wife as well. The problem is that I have very little desire to spend any time inside that person’s head.
All that said, I wouldn’t actually recommend people not read this story. In fact if you’re one of the people who is interested in every detail of the lives of people who have lost a child or any loved one and tried to decide if they are guilty from news footage you should read this because it points out better than I possibly could that everyone reacts to things differently and just because it’s strange to you doesn’t mean they are wrong or not hurting. On the other hand if you already spend too much time worrying about your kids or simply don’t want to be depressed then you can probably safely avoid “My Heart is Either Broken” because it is harder to read than most horror stories.