Softly and Tenderly by Lisa Binion
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: February 28, 2013
“Mom died in her sleep last night.” Those are terrifying words for a child to wake up to. The beetle that falls off the stretcher and stares at her is only the beginning one of the strangest and most frightening times in Lori’s life. Death is not a pretty thing, especially not when the funeral is to be at the Lights Out Chapel and Crematorium.
Once she walks into the funeral parlor, she experiences things that no little girl should ever have to experience. No one is acting normal. No one can see what is going on. Is Lori the only one who sees the blood oozing from the pictures of Jesus on the cross? Doesn’t anyone else see the beetles? Is Lori hallucinating when she sees her mom sit up and hears her speak? There is absolutely nothing soft and tender about what happens to Lori.
From her overly morbid piano teacher to the creepy preacher and a father that just isn’t acting like himself, Lori is surrounded by people and things that hint of something bizarre. Once she leaves the Lights Out Chapel and Crematorium, things will go back to normal. Or will they?
Out of all the short stories I’ve ever read I have to say Softly and Tenderly is probably the most unique. I’m still not entirely sure what happened. The story is told from young Lori’s point of view. She wakes up to find out her Mother, who has been sick with cancer, is dead. Everything that happens after that is a result of her death at least I think it is.
While the story was interesting it was also really confusing. Was Lori hallucinating at the funeral home? What about in her bedroom? What was up with the beetle? I still have so many questions. I guess that’s a good thing though, because if I didn’t like the story I wouldn’t care about the answers.
Lisa Binion is a writer, editor, and wife. She makes her home in the beautiful state of Kentucky. Her two children are now grown, but she has been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Tyler and Zoey. Her family also includes four dogs, four cats, and two goats.
As the Fiction Writing Editor for BellaOnline, she writes articles, reviews fiction books, and interviews fiction authors. She is also an editor for Silver Tongue Press and Edit 1st. In her spare time, she attempts to clean house and relax.