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“Charlotte” by Tony Earley is a weirdly interesting story. There is a lot going on in the story but the author manages to keep it all straight and concise without losing the reader. There is the fact that all the wrestlers left Charlotte, the poetry, the narrator’s love for Starla, the wrestling match, the bar, the wrestling characters, and then all of those things are woven together to create a pretty complex story. But it is extremely well-done so it works.

The way the story is written contributes to the cleanness of it. The sentences are well-structured, well-thought out, clear and to the point. But there is also varied sentence length which keeps the story from being dry and reading like a “learn-to-read” book or an instruction manual. One paragraph is a single word, “gone,”(34) while other sentences are longer and more complex, “she will say that she loves me only at the end of a great struggle…”(36-37). All of the sentences are well-written and don’t bog the reader down with confusing, flowery language, but the varied sentence structure still makes it an enjoyable story to read.

The complexity of the story and the different aspects of the story build on one another so that works as well. One of the most insightful moments into Karla’s character is when she is watching the wrestling match and rooting for Bob Noxious while the narrator is almost enamored with Lord Poetry. When she shouts things like “Kill Lord Poetry” and encourages Bob Noxious to “go get” Darling Donnis because Lord Poetry is after her soul, the reader is given an extraordinary amount of insight into Karla’s character that the narrator probably couldn’t give because of his bias, and the reader is allowed to see the difference in character between the narrator and his girlfriend that, again, the narrator might be blind to. The difference between the two is especially evident in the wrestling scenes, as the narrator almost identifies with Lord Poetry, and this difference could not have been made clear without the complexity of the story that the wrestling story provides.

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