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December 16, 2018


#Short stories The Pull of the Moon

by N@ncy



  1. The slow reader is like a swimmer who stops
  2. counting the number of pool laps they have done
  3. … just enjoys how their body feels and moves in water.
  4. For the first time I approached
  5. ….a collection of short stories
  6. as a slow reader.
  7. I read each and every word Julie Paul wrote.
  8. Not every story is a home-run
  9. ….but she hit a few out of the ballpark!


Short stories:

  • I read the collection from
  • beginning to end as Ms. Paul arranged them.


  • I could not detect a flow in the arrangement of the stories.
  • They did not build on each other.
  • There were 2 stories that felt just pointless (9,12)
  • with paper thins characters.


  • Three stories had potential ….but endings were ambiguous
  • …and left this reader wanting. (8,10,11)


  • The BEST stories were Black Forest, Crossing Over and Flip
  • …all good feeling endings….love conquers all! (1, 3, 6)


  • Setting: 6 of the 12 stories mentioned NO location specifics
  • …which made the stories colorless.
  • It does not take up much space in the story
  • …to at least mention the name of a town or state!



  1. Children:  Jenny – Simon – Sammy – Beany – Angela – Lulu
  2. Marriage:
  3. Vicki/Larry – Jim/Fran – Mr./Mrs Poole
  4. – Bob/Dee Hudson – David/Erica – nameless wife/Michel
  5. — Sue/Fraser — Jess/Dylan
  6. Couples:  Warren/Lacy  — Claudia/Rodger — Billy/Allan — Mario/Sheri
  7. Brother and sister:  Warren/Gwen  – Stravos/Alexa
  8. Sisters: Tirsh/Donna
  9. Brothers – Owen/Jasper
  10. Teenagers: Jenny – Juna
  11. Neighbor: Carl — Mia — nameless woman (5th story)



  1. Looking at this character list you can see the
  2. …most common theme was
  3. marriage, family loyalty vs denial dynamics.


  1. Many fathers feared they were not a good enough parent.
  2. The most common themes were
  3. doubts about parenting,
  4. marriage, separation, custody battle, family secrets,
  5. accepting no medical intervention for a sick husband and
  6. …a husband dealing with post traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD)
  7. ..and Diana (49 yr) tries  to make a home-made baby with a turkey baster!


  1. Couples/relationship dynamics swirled about tropical vacations:
  2. 4 young people’s dream trip went haywire.
  3. Claudia and Rodger took a chance on the flip of a coin
  4. …and found love in Cuba!


  1. One couple broke up…. Lacy/Warren 
  2. …Lacy felt The Pull of the Moon and booked
  3. …a one-way ticket with the Lunar Pilgrim shuttle!


  1. Gwen: What do you do when all you have in the world
  2. …is a brother and a cat named Fluffy?
  3. She felt “…as lonely as a lighthouse.”


1. Black Forest


  1. crisis: Mother abandons family
  2. struggle: Lawrence must be father-mother for his daughter.
  3. discovery: Jenny is growing up and father feels  separation anxiety
  4. transformation: Jenny who needs guidance…
  5. is the ‘adult’…and  ends up guiding her parents! is really about the cake!


2.  Damage

  1. crisis: PTSD
  2. struggle: recover from trauma
  3. discovery:  trauma can be a source of growth
  4. transformation: Jim feels a greater appreciation for life,
  5. ….a greater sense of personal strength.
  6. He pushes himself to ‘meddle’ with the neighbor’s problem.


3.  Crossing Over

  1. crisis: Should a cat have a grave?
  2. struggle: brother (balanced, reasonable) vs sister (emotional, lonely)
  3. discovery: grief is real be it for a cat or a wife….
  4. transformation: Roy realizes that grief is simply a part of life.
  5. There is no need to suppress or deny the pain.


4. Pilgrim

  1. crisis: the rise of New Age spirituality in a skeptical world.
  2. Lacy wants to follow course Angel Reading cards (…talk to guardian angel)
  3. struggle:  Lacy is a believer: “That stuff got me so amped up!
  4. discovery: If the moon controls the tides, affects crops, etc.,
  5. …it seems logical that it has some sway over us too.
  6. transformation: Lacy books a one-way-ticket to the moon!


5. Adios

  1. crisis: Mr. Poole (neighbor) suddenly dies
  2. struggle: narrator feels guilty
  3. ….she did not prevent Mr. Poole from wandering off.
  4. discovery: narrator is burdened with regrets and seeks redemption
  5. transformation:  Mrs. Poole calls narrator a gift from God.
  6. Ironically.…narrator does not feel she is the answer to a prayer.


6. Flip

  1. crisis:  Single librarian lives alone with her cat.
  2. struggle:  Roger (co-worker ) asks her to go to Cuba with him!
  3. …What should she do?
  4. “…a vacation with Rodger? “
  5. …they only know each other in the coffee sense,
  6. ….she likes lattes with extra sugar and he like Africanos…!”
  7. discovery: Claudia discovers that it is sensible to want
  8. …more than what keeps the flesh alive and mobile.
  9. transformation: Love blossoms
  10. ….Claudia she is brought back to life… a little resurrection.

7. Tropical Dream

  1. crisis:  couples have problems….flirting with each other.
  2. struggle: Fraser flirts with Billy – Billy….flirts with his wife Sue!
  3. discovery: boys find girls locked in a passionate embrace
  4. transformation: Sue is confused….feels the ache of unfinished business


8. The King is Dead

  1. crisis: Trish feels as an outsider from the secret family club
  2. struggle: tension b/t Trish and family….what is wrong? what is the secret?
  3. discovery: before Trish was born
  4. ….her  brother Patrick drowned (father was drunk could no save him).
  5. transformation: Trish internalizes her grief and anger
  6. If she explodes she will never see her nephew again
  7. ….her ‘stand-in-little-brother’.


9. Viable

  1. crisis: Juna’s mother (49 yr)  asks Stravos (17 yr)
  2. …to donate sperm so she can have a baby
  3. struggle:  Stravos weighs the pros and cons.
  4. discovery:  ???
  5. transformation:  ???
  6. Conclusion: pointless!


10. Weeping Camperdown  (tree)

  1. crisis: man divorced, woman married feel themselves falling in love.
  2. struggle: Andrew does not want his daughter to know he is looking for love.
  3. discovery: After a few incidents
  4. ….Andrew suspects this woman is stalking him!
  5. transformation:  “Something in her voice made Andrew’s hair prickle”
  6. Conclusion: story had great potential but the ending just fizzled out.
  7. Last sentence:  “He began to count”.
  8. Me: Count what?


11. Her Full Name Was Beatrice

  1. crisis: custody battle Erica  vs and David for their child Beany
  2. struggle: David is awarded custody  of Beany. (Beatrice)
  3. discovery: Erica cannot accept this decision
  4. transformation: Narrator (nameless)  is guilt-ridden
  5. ….what signs did she miss….could she have helped Erica?


12 Squirrel People

  1. crisis: Jess cannot bear to live near neighbors Mario/Sheri  from upstairs
  2. …they keep feeding the squirrels It drives Jess crazy!
  3. struggle: Dylan bring home puppy for Lulu (daughter). Jess is livid!
  4. discovery:  role reversal
  5. transformation: Dylan has become just like Mario
  6. ….just wants to make people happy
  7. Jess his wife turns  into Sheri
  8. raging when no raging was necessary.
  9. Conclusion:  pointless story

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