Posted in Short Stories

Rosemarie Robotham: Jesse

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 14

That night I told my father about Jesse, and from then on he would count out an extra half-dollar so that my ‘little friend’ need not go hungry. Jesse remained sheepish about accepting the rice cake and chocolate milk she favored for lunch; it was a difficult moment that we learned to live through each day.

The title character of Rosemarie Robotham’s “Jesse” and its narrator come from different backgrounds but both feel they live outside the norm. They become fast friends as they discover a ghost.

The ghost story aspect here is not that scary, not that much of a surprise, not that much of a twist. It’s just sort of there. The two friends get to stare into the same mystery cementing their friendship in spite of their differences.

But the ghost doesn’t feel made up. It’s not a gimmick. It’s not pushed into the story just to make it interesting. It works quite well.

If someone is looking for the haunted, scary, horror type of ghost story, “Jesse” might not be it but I would credit it as a “real” ghost story or at least a “genuine” one.

“Jesse” is included in Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best edited by John Henrik Clarke. I read it when I selected the Queen of Clubs for Week 14 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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