The editor of our textbook, The Best American Short Stories of the Century, John Updike says that "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had," "depicts a circle of friends drifting toward the millennium unfulfilled, wanting love, wanting more. The narrating heroine... is an immigrant, crossing not the Atlantic but the well-worn and weary continent, 'toward something like a real life.' Out of dreams, reality - and vice versa." Indeed, we see that the narrator, Lucy, is surrounded by people who all love someone who doesn't love them back. Lucy is naturally in the same boat as these and her sometimes humorous but more often saddening stories of love gone wrong remind the readers of their own past, I bet. Still, the narrator is optimistic, not yet totally disillusioned by either her age or her best friend's rather sobering comments that she has at least fifty-five steps between her current life and married life someday. Indeed, she ends her story with pretending to take "the first step toward something like a real life, the very first step toward something that will last." In a word, her marriage. Not that readers believe Lucy's marriage will turn out necessarily... Taken into consideration her previous track record with men, current confusion with her best friend, and even all of her agonizing memories of her father's inability to love, we are left with questioning the success of Lucy's eventual marriage. As Updike says, Lucy is floating in and out of dreams and reality. I'm concerned to see what would happen when the dream of Lucy's marriage turns into the chore of married life.
Posted by JohnHaddad at April 5, 2005 5:55 AM
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