From the author of A Cure for Suicide, How to Set A Fire is an engaging and compassionate tale of loss, inequality and disaffected youth. The publishers – Text who provided my advance copy – describe it as Jesse Ball’s most accessible novel. Although I’d have liked to find out more about what happened to her parents (although I have my own hypothesis), it’s certainly worth giving it a chance.
So, how to combine that with the latest flash fiction challenge to write a 99-word story that changes with a smile? Well, Charli is having the shit piled on her just as Lucia is, but she’s determined not to let that define her. While Charli wouldn’t take it as far as Lucia does, this is my tribute to the spirit of defiance in them both.
You won’t define me
Don’t do anything you’re not proud of, said her aunt, but it was tough to live up to when teachers and landlords didn’t play fair. She tried to be good, but the world didn’t notice. Didn’t care.
Wanna join the Sonar club? Lucia frowned. Why would she want to hang around with those losers? It’s an anagram, stupid! they said.
She fingered the lighter in her pocket. Her talisman, all that remained of her dad. Now it made sense that she always kept it close. An image of flames etched on her retina, she smiled.
While a smile might help some of us, do check out my post Smile please! for some reflections on what it’s like to be unable to smile, or go straight to my short story, “My Beautiful Smile”.