Sunday, February 22, 2009

Proof of God by Holly Goddard Jones

1. Compare and contrast the short story you choose in a given week to the novel we are reading that week. Consider differences in character development, plots, settings and themes. Consider how the length of the form, i.e. short story vs. novel, impacts the story. Which did you prefer in a given week and why.

I prefer Guardian Angel rather than “Proof of God.” The charcater development in “Proof of God” was unclear. The character couldn’t decide if he was gay or not. It was very hard for me to relate to. I wanted him to just come out and say he was gay instead of inferring it during the whole story. The plots were similar because they had more than one plot which made it quite confusing. In “Proof of God,” there were two plots. The first plot was about how he had feelings for his male friend. The second plot was when he and his friend accidentally murdered a girl while they were raping her. As far as charcter development, I want a character that has already found himself/herself. I find those stories much more engaging. The setting of “Guardian Angel” was in Chicago with people who had already made a life for themselves. “Guardian Angel” was set in a college town with characters that were still searching to find themselves which made it hard for me to enjoy.

I have concluded that short stories just don’t work for me. I really dislike “Proof of God.” I find out very hard to get into and enjoy. They are just to quick to really to really get you captivated and make you guess what is going to happen next. In “Guardian Angel,” I felt like I really got to know the characters which the foundation for an excellent story. In “Proof of God,” I never felt sorry for the main character even though I think I was suppose to. “He looked at that word, the big one on the hood: FAG.” (Page 76 of The Best American Mystery Stories)

2. Do you attribute any differences between the short stories based on the gender of the author? If so, explain what differences you observed.

This week, both of the authors were female. I did notice that Sara Paretsky included a lot more emotions than the male authors which I appreciated. That is how I feel that I know the characters better and really feel that I can relate to them. “The impulse to smash his face in was so strong that I just pulled my fist back before it connected.” (Page 82 of Guardian Angel)

3. Review each short story. What did you like or dislike and why? Did the mystery in the short story work for you, i.e., were you challenged, surprised, satisfied or unsatisfied by what happened in the end.

I was completely unsatisfied with the whole story of “Proof of God,” especially the ending. It was sad that justice was not served in this story. He got away with helping with murder by denying it because they only had his friend’s word against his. I was also unsatisfied with the ending of “Guardian Angel.” I felt like it was so confusing and not everything was explained. I wanted it to spell out every detail so it didn’t leave me trying to piece some things together.

4. Reflect on the rest of the course, including your thoughts, reactions, observations, etc about the online discussion, the novels and anything else that strikes you as relevant to the course and your experience. DO NOT REPEAT WHAT YOU HAVE POSTED IN THE ONLINE DISCUSSIONS.

I feel that every week we get closer to the right book for me. I like that this one included a lot of emotions so I could really get into the story. I just wished that story moved a faster pace so I wasn’t bored in parts of the story. I really feel like that I have begun to really think about what I am reading and getting a lot of more out the stories I read since I am analyzing them more.

I was also really annoyed that the title "Proof of God" didn't fit the story at all. You would think that God would be mentioned more than twice in the story if they were going to call the story "Proof of God." I thought the title made the story sound interesting and I was exremely disappointed with this story.

5. Add anything else that you think is relevant to the course and your experience. I'm not looking for anything specific here, only what may be important to you. If you don't have anything to add in this category, that's okay. I won't deduct points and it won't hurt your grade. However, interesting, compelling thoughts or observations can enhance your grade.

I think this is still a crazy amount of reading. I think that a better pace would be to read a book every two weeks. You could reflect on what you think you will happen during the middle of the story on the weeks that you aren’t finishing books. The amount of reading is still overwhelming me.


  1. I read "Proof of God" last week. I felt like you about it, almost to the letter. I especially did not like that justice was not served. I know in real life, it is not always served. But in my fiction, I like to think it always is. I also am more engaged when there is a detective or investigator of some kind. Someone to lead through the maze of the puzzle and make sense of the clues.

  2. My wife and I have 4 teenagers and one 12 year old, so the "coming of age" aspects of this story made some sense to me -- although at this age if a boy has a homosexual thought or a girl kisses another girl they think their whole lifestyle must now be "gay." So much uncertainty and exploration at this age -- I think the story is wishy-washy in the same way. Glad I'm not at that age again.

  3. I also like stories where I get to know the characters and feel like they are real. That is why I usually read series. I have a difficult time enjoying short stories and I think it's because I like a developed storyline which takes more than a short story can deliver. It doesn't sound like "Proof of God" is a winner so I won't waste time on this one.