The Persephone Book of Short Stories: The Real Thing by Diana Athill


I went to the dance with Thomas Toofat.

So begins The Real Thing by Diana Athill, yet another wonderful short story in The Persephone Book of Short Stories. The narrator, whose name we never learn, is a young girl, and the story written in 1958 is about the narrator’s transition into womanhood.

Diana Athill’s writing in this story is captivating and absolutely funny. She must have been around 40 years old when she wrote The Real Thing, yet she perfectly captures how it feels to be young. The narrator is a cheerful, spirited girl who loves to dance. She gets easily embarrassed by her well-meaning parents when her friends are around, thinks she turns too pinkish whenever she blushes. Basically, she is a girl anxiously waiting to try her wings for the first time!

The Real Thing is a story that is sure to make its readers feel nostalgic for their childhood – I relived my carefree days while reading it! ūüėÄ I can not recall the last time a short story made me feel this good or had me grinning like a Cheshire cat! So this story is highly recommended!

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