Harry and Me by Jim Harrington

Harry and Me by Jim Harrington
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (5 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

An out-of-work salesman looking for a job stumbles upon Harry, an orphan who’s aged out of the system and is a self-taught musician. After their chance meeting on a forest lane, the two partner up for a new adventure that should be lucrative for both. After all, if one member of their little team has business smarts and the other other has talent, the sky’s the limit in what they could achieve. Their first stop? A small village named Hamelin that has a pretty serious rat problem. The two men may have found their first client, but the results of their business venture are about to have some unforseen results.

What really happened to the children of Hamelin? Why would the Pied Piper want to take them away?  Robert Evans once said, “There are three sides to every story – yours, mine, and the truth.” The problem is that most of us only ever pay attention to our own point of view.

I must admit that I found this premise irresistibly intriguing. Growing up I absorbed every fairy tale I could find, and I spent hours wondering how their plots would change if the other characters in them were given a chance to speak. The Pied Piper in Harry and Me more than lived up to my expectations. Harry is a gentle soul who doesn’t always realize how his actions affect others. His other-worldly thought processes and moral code are internally consistent, but they don’t always blend in well with human society.

There was a flashback about halfway through the narrative that didn’t seem to fit the general tone of piece. White it provided background information on one of the characters the inclusion of it seemed out of place for a modern-day fairy tale. The setting was unusual and the scene referenced characters we never hear from again. Had the narrator and Harry been given more time to reveal their personalities this flashback would have made more sense, but as it was written this scene felt abrupt and out of place to me.

The understated ending of Harry and Me left this reader wanting to know more. The most important conflicts were resolved, but there is still room for a sequel if the author ever chooses to revisit these characters. What was even more interesting was how well this tale stands on its own. While I doubt there are many readers out there who are unfamiliar with the original telling one does not need to know that story in order to appreciate this one.

Harry and Me effortlessly re-imagines a timeless tale. While fantasy may not necessarily appeal to every reader this is an excellent introduction for people who are brand new to the genre or who aren’t sure that it’s their cup of tea.

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