Tenth of December by George Saunders: Victory Lap

Tenth of December

Victory Lap which was first published in The New Yorker is the first story in George Saunders’ award-winning short story collection, Tenth of December.


(Image credit: The New Yorker)

The story begins with the perspective of Alison Pope, a teenage girl who is almost fifteen. We find her daydreaming – imagining herself in a grand ball looking for her “special one”, rejecting potential suitors for the tiniest of flaws. She is a happy child, in love with the world and herself. Alison thinks she is special, not as special as Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, or Mrs. Roosevelt, at least not yet anyway. Her sheltered life hasn’t given her much life experience, so she is confident her life will be perfect.

The story then turns to Kyle, Alison’s neighbor of the same age. He is also a sheltered child, but his parents keep Kyle on a tight leash. Kyle gets ‘work points’ and ‘chore points’ which can be cashed in for treats, and while fulfilling one of his chores Kyle sees Alison getting kidnapped by a meter reader. The highlight for me in Victory Lap was the internal monolog Kyle has with himself on whether or not to come to Alison’s rescue. Helping Alison would mean breaking his parents’ rule about not interfering with other people’s business. But not helping her would mean he would be known as the guy who had nothing FOREVER!

Victory Lap was a terrific read. The attempted abduction exposes both kids to the realities of adulthood. I wish that was not the case, and they had more time to enjoy their childhoods, but then again bubbles always do burst!



  1. This might be my favourite story from this collection! Love Saunders; I just reviewed Lincoln in the Bardo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my first time reading Saunders. He has an interesting writing style. I’m looking forward to reading rest of the stories. 🙂


  2. Tenth of December is such an excellent collection. I think this one (and the last one in the collection) are the best stories in the book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I hope so too. I can’t wait to buy Lincoln in the Bardo! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Norin_76 · · Reply

    I have Tenth of December on my TBR, too! Although I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should bring it to the top of your pile. It seems goood! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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