by Mary Haupt from the February 2, 2014 issue
In a Nutshell: Dinah is going on her long dreamed of trip to Paris. Kelly, the man who is temping while she's gone, was an exchange student there when he was younger. Over dinner, he gives her some tips on what to see while she's there. The next day, he sends her off with a smile.
Observations: This story started out average for me, wandered into weird territory, and then finished strong.
I thought the first part of the story was cute, typical of a Woman's World story. There's a perky friend. There's the backstory about Dinah's trip. There's a cute meet where Dinah is expecting a girl because her replacement's name is Kelly.
In addition to the black moment at the end of the story, there was a gray moment in the middle when Dinah almost declines Kelly's dinner invitation, which was slightly unusual. I really loved how Kelly shared his knowledge with her, pointing out special things she might want to see herself. But the whole screenplay thing felt out of place to me. Maybe it's because I live in Los Angeles, and I was pretty skeptical that he had a producer interested in optioning it. Everyone and their mother is a screenwriter here, and not that many are successful at it. Hollywood is very much a "who you know" town. I might have believed it if the screenplay had been described a little bit more. "Based on his experiences that year," didn't sound too lucrative. And he changes the topic soon after mentioning it anyway, so I didn't quite see the purpose.
By this time, I'm not all that interested in the couple, unfortunately. I didn't see too much personality in either of them. I admired Dinah for making her dream come true and going on a trip like that by herself. She's braver than I am! However, other than that, they seemed pedestrian.
However, I thought the ending of the story was strong. I liked the drawn out tension of Dinah in the airport as she hopes to see Kelly and the way he sends her off was perfect. That ending redeemed the story for me.
I'd be interested to see what everyone else thought. Maybe it was just me.
Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via Creative Commons