“I.D.” Joyce Carol Oates
One-minute review: Seems like a chapter from a novel. Teen-age girl, whose face has been messed up by a fall down the stairs awhile ago, three surgeries to her eye socket ago, has been summoned out of class in high school by two police officers, one a male and another a female.
She is taken to the morgue and asked to “I.D.” a woman’s corpse as her mother. The woman has been beaten to shapelessness. But a coat, and a driver’s license in a torn handbag seem to indicate that they were her mother’s possessions.
In a complete state of denial, she refuses to identify the body as her mother and is returned to school. She rejoins her friends.
Comment: The reader is inside the mind of a troubled teen-ager, troubled by her looks, troubled her parents’ relationships. That’s all I can tell you. It’s a vivid re-creation of her mental state. RayS.
The New Yorker (March 29, 2010), 80-88.