Challenge 725 Response:
Bewildering Stories discusses
Cricket on the Road
“God Has One, Too,” part 2, appears in issue 725.
From Challenge 725:
- Does Cricket know first-hand that Aunt Lucy and Uncle Sulo plan to get rid of Smidge? Does she know why they plan to?
- What are Cricket’s aunt and uncle doing while Cricket is on the run? Does Cricket expect anyone to come searching for her?
- For what audience does the story seem to be intended? What lessons might a teenage reader take from it if she wants to run away from home?
[Review Editor #1] I assume this is intended for the young-adult market. Teen-age girl runs away from home to save her dog. The aunt and uncle must be awfully poor if they have to kill a dog to economize. In the real world, chances are this girl wouldn’t get too far before she became a victim of some predator in one form or another.
[Review Editor #2] There are too many screwballs driving along just watching for a female adolescent on foot.
[Managing Editor] “God Has One, Too” is a very “interior” story with an exterior setting. Cricket talks only to Mr. Powers, and she leaps to a possibly false conclusion: she has no idea whether Mr. Powers is telling the truth; he might have misunderstood something he overheard. She promptly stiffs her aunt and uncle without even leaving a note.
Cricket makes plans very carefully and methodically. Her foresight clashes with her unaccountably impulsive flight. Readers may well wonder what Cricket’s backstory and motivation are.
On the road, Cricket is a case of reverse invisibility. She and Smidge are all there is until she meets Aunt Vera. On the way, Cricket doesn’t even see anybody else; she only overhears the people at the church. No cops are out looking for her, and nobody passes by on the road. Are Cricket and Smidge hiking through a rural wilderness? Whatever, the world of other people all but vanishes as far as she’s concerned.
What can a potential teenage runaway take from this story? Our Review Editors are right: the lessons are dangerous ones.