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I think, firstly, that the characters of “It’s Bad Luck to Die” keep the story from being clichéd. We start right off the bat with a tall girl and a short man, something that is often seen as undesirable. The main character herself points this out, but it adds an element of reality to the story. Real life isn’t the movies, as Lois says. The story, though maybe not as perfect and romantic as some readers may like, is realistic because of its imperfections. In addition, the characters have a fairly large age gap. While this honestly grossed me out at first, I think it too adds a dash of reality to the work of fiction and again works to make the piece believable. If nothing else, readers are drawn into the story because of Lois’s voice and because of the way their relationship seems like a part of real life; I feel like I could walk down to a tattoo shop and see a young woman and an older man hanging around behind the counter.

Another choice that McCracken made to make the reader invested was the timing. The story starts (almost) at the beginning, and ends at the end of their relationship, but in between we get a lot of different experiences all mixed in. It jumps from time period to time period, talking about the beginning of their relationship, about Tiny before he met Lois, about Lois and her mother, and continues bouncing. It’s easy to follow, but you find that in a short period of time, you feel like you’ve just learned years-worth of information. It gave me the impression that Lois and Tiny’s love was timeless, even though it was certainly finite.

Both of these choices by McCracken, the characterization and the pacing, impacted the story to make it seem like real life and endless (while still being enjoyable; it didn’t ‘drag on’ by any means of the phrase). While perhaps unconventional, Lois and Trip’s relationship was one of honesty, trust, open communication and vulnerability, without ever having to describe itself as such. McCracken made excellent choices while writing to make a love story that was every bit as lasting as the tattoos her characters had.

One Response to ““It’s Bad Luck to Die”: McCracken’s Choices”

  1. Ashley: I like your observation that the narrative leaps make us feel as though we’ve “just learned years-worth of information” and creates the impression that “Lois and Tiny’s love was timeless, even though it was certainly finite.” Nice.

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