A woman decides to spend some time relearning how to enjoy the single life after getting dumped by her college boyfriend. What starts as “me time,” however, quickly turns into the aching realization that “me” actually means “alone.” She begins to wonder whether she really wants to be alone when another romantic possibility crosses her path. Author Nadine Keels shares the story of her protagonist in the potentially touching but much-too-short novelette The “She” Stands Alone.
Sheridan Jones loves books, and now that her college boyfriend, David, no longer occupies her time Sheridan can catch up on all the reading she’s missed. Reading about other people’s love stories just tends to remind her of her own botched experience, though, and it doesn’t help that many of her single friends have started getting married. While Sheridan does have some single friends, their pool seems to get smaller as the months pass.
At some point Sheridan decides enough is enough. If she can’t attract a man, she doesn’t need one. She can just take care of herself. After all, who else knows her better? She’ll just date herself!
The plan sounds like a good one, until her mailman-cum-neighbor begins to express an interest in her. But Sheridan doesn’t need him…does she? Shouldn’t she find fulfillment in life on her own?
Author Nadine Keels creates a likeable enough protagonist in Sheridan Jones, but Sheridan spends too much time in self-deprecation. While readers appreciate a character who can laugh at herself, Sheridan doesn’t miss a single opportunity to make a cute quip or offer a snarky observation of her life. Given that the story proceeds in first person, readers get to hear every single one of those observations. Because of that the novelette starts with a fun, upbeat tone, but by the halfway mark Sheridan’s attitude may make readers wonder whether she uses the self-deprecation as a defense mechanism…even against herself.
The other drawback to the story—its length—functions as a double-edged sword. The length keeps readers from enduring Sheridan’s outlook for too long, but it also doesn’t give the target audience enough time to get settled into the story. By the time readers feel like they can start sympathizing with Sheridan and her plight, she moves on and the novelette ends.
In toning down Sheridan’s nature and adding some more details about Sheridan’s background, Keels could really turn this into a winner. For now The “She” Stands Alone” Borders on Borrowing it.