Our new issue, “Refund” was curated and edited by One Story contributing editor Karen Friedman, and so I am passing the blog-reins into her steady and talented hands. I hope you all enjoy this wonderful tale about the complicated role of parenting a gifted child.-HT
Both of my children look like my husband, my son in particular. (Although, at only 7 weeks-old, who knows how long this will last.) The thing is, increasingly I find myself fixating on the color of his eyes. Right now they are blue like my own – the same shade as my father’s and my grandfather’s eyes. Rationally speaking, I know it’s a little meaningless nothing, and yet, it feels like an important tether. An outward signal of other characteristics we might share. Of ownership. Of belonging.
“Refund” by David James Poissant explores some similar territory. Upon discovering that his son, Josh, has been selected to join the gifted class, the main character, Sam, struggles with his desire for his son to be “normal” instead, to be like him. While the outside world unquestioningly values the label “gifted”, Sam is dismayed. It delineates so starkly the differences between father and son – differences that Sam fears will ultimately take his child from him.
The beauty in Poissant’s story lies in his exploration of the intricate web of pride, love, and blame that accompanies raising a child and hoping to do the best for him, even when it’s not clear how or what that might be, even when it might be the worst alternative for a parent. For more information about how the story was developed, read our Q&A with the author.
As for my son’s eyes, if they turn mostly brown like my daughter’s, I’ll get over it. But both of them better love books.