Flash Friday Review: “DreamHouse” by Christine Naprava, published in Flash Frog

Flash Fridays are back! We’re kicking it off with “DreamHouse,” a new piece by Christine Naprava published at Flash Frog. Christine has been publishing some great pieces this year and her latest is no exception. Also a talented poet, a distinction which really shines in the language of this piece. 

There are a few reasons I chose this flash to highlight this week, the most obvious being that it’s told in second-person. Big fan. I know it can be polarizing, but I love it, especially when done well, as it is in this story. I love the immediacy of second-person, and Christine has pulled it off wonderfully here. She begins the story by bringing the reader into a perfect slice of Americana—a roller skating rink—and introducing us to a man that could be “your father.” 

The piece weaves through the speaker’s date at the roller-skating rink, and some of the circumstances that moved them from North Carolina to California. Naprava’s poetic skills shine in the nuanced descriptions of the piece, like the man’s toothpick (“Back in North Carolina, the toothpick left scratches on your cheek”), or her date’s vehicle (“Your date drives a Mustang, and you’re a living tragedy”). 

The use of second-person really drives home the universality of the piece. Thematically, the narrator is running from her past: from North Carolina to California, from her father to her date with the Mustang. Yet even when she makes it out, her past still haunts her. The man behind the counter, the other blondes at the rink—how do we make it out of our pasts unscathed and forge ahead to our futures? Can we ever truly make it out? A difficult question to answer, but a question that arises in great fiction. To do it masterfully is impressive, even more so in the confines of flash fiction. 

Maybe we are just outrunning our ghosts to what Naprava describes as “some far-off decade” where “you suffer alone though the world is telling you that you no longer have to.” 

I sure hope so. 

Read the piece here.

Christine Naprava is a writer from South Jersey. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Contrary Magazine, trampset, Kissing Dynamite, Spry Literary Journal, Overheard Lit, The Friday Poem, and Thin Air Online, among others. You can find her on Twitter @CNaprava and Instagram @cnaprava.

Christian Gilman Whitney is a writer from Western Massachusetts, and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. Find him on Twitter @c_g_whitney.

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