The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: The First Person

the first person and other stories

I think the title story is my favorite among the pronoun-themed stories in this collection. In it, the narrator is a woman possibly in her fifties in a new relationship with “you” who is a bit younger than herself. Because of her age, the narrator is not sure if she wants to pursue this relationship.

I’m not sure that there’s much room left in my life for all this, I’m not sure there’s enough patience left in me. I’m a bit too, eh, old for it. I’m a bit too old, say, to be meeting anybody’s parents. I’m the age of a parent myself, for God’s sake.

But you tell her “I was born without parents,” adding that your friends are “the kind of people who’ll simply accept your presence in my life without having to have any back story,” although you go on to make up cute backstories about how you met with the narrator while she reveals to us the real story.

The First Person is a story that makes its readers feel all warm and fuzzy. It ends on a happy not as “you” manage to convince the narrator to be with you. I can’t imagine a better way to finish this anthology, and I’ll leave you with how “you” won over the narrator…

You’re not the first person who ever knocked on my door. You’re not the first person I ever chanced my arm with. You’re not the first person I ever tried to impress with my brilliant performance of not really being impressed with anything. You’re not the first person to make me laugh. You’re not the first person I ever made laugh. You’re not the first person full stop. But you’re the one right now. I’m the one right now. We’re the one right now. That’s enough, yes?

You’re not the first person to make a speech like that at me, I say.

Then we’re both laughing hard again in each other’s new arms.

One comment

  1. The First Person sounds like a Lovely Story ūüėć!


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