JT Leroy, "Disappearance"

A trashy, skanky birthmom gets her kid back from his foster parents.

(from Zoetrope All-Story)

Told from the perspective of the crying, sobbing, slobbering kid, this story does a good job of expressing immature thoughts and childish actions with a more adult vocabulary. It’s not a pretty picture. The mom, to whom the court apparently awarded custody despite his ten years living with a loving foster family, is an asshole, sometimes too much so. Like, she needs to keep topping herself with more awful things to say and do to prove she should not be in charge of the well-being of herself, much less a kid. You end up feeling so bad for the kid (though you might also want to tell him to stop crying and wipe his nose) that “Disappearance” starts feeling more of a death march than a story. Of course the end is unsatisfying. But it ends, and that feels good. Swing low, sweet chariot.

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