The Pink Bundle

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
31 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

The Pink Bundle is a compelling novella by SJ McGarry. The story unravels as Sandra stands before a decrepit boarding house where fifty years ago, she was abandoned by her mother. Left inside a pink bundle inside a drawer, she learned that she was adopted at the age of fifteen. Her adoptive parent is Mattie, the half-sister of her father who was killed in action in Europe. Sandra grows up physically and mentally abused because Mattie suffers from various mental health issues. Then a woman called introducing herself as her half-sister. Sandra is informed that her birth mother has been trying to locate her. She sets out to reunite with them. Can she finally get to know her real family and unravel her true identity?

SJ McGarry’s The Pink Bundle is a thought-provoking novella about abandonment and self-discovery. With her evocative prose, the author effectively captures Sandra’s emotional turmoil in dealing with the truth about her birth, while seamlessly weaving together the present day with her past. With well-balanced pacing, the tension gradually develops making the book an emotionally engaging read. Readers should find it easy to empathize with Sandra and feel her desperation and hope as she tries to uncover her identity. The other characters also add tension and depth to the narrative. The Pink Bundle is a story that deals with themes of identity, truth, forgiveness, and resilience. It is one of those novellas that will keep readers contemplating long after they turn the last page of the book.

Pikasho Deka

SJ McGarry's The Pink Bundle is a short story that follows a woman's search for her roots to determine her self-identity. Raised by adoptive parents, Sandra was often told that her birth mother was homeless and had abandoned her shortly after giving birth to Sandra. Growing up, Sandra's adoptive mother never missed the opportunity to abuse her in verbal and other ways, as she suffered from mental disorders with multiple personalities. Now, fifty years later, out of the blue, Sandra receives a call from a woman who claims to be her half-sister and says her mother is still alive. However, despite meeting with her estranged family after so many years, Sandra finds it difficult to connect to them. But in her search for answers to her past, Sandra learns three valuable lessons.

Events in our past find a way to impact our lives in the present and the future. That is the premise of The Pink Bundle. SJ McGarry tells a moving story about a woman whose search for answers to her past finally allows her to accept the incomprehensible absurdities of life where nothing is predictable and the only constant is change. Sandra is a person plagued by inner conflict and turmoil. On the one hand, she wants to find closure to her past, but when she gets the opportunity, she fails to connect with her newfound family. An introspective character-driven drama at its core, The Pink Bundle is a gem for anyone who enjoys literary fiction.

Nino Lobiladze

Sandra looked at an old boarding house in New York. Her birth mother abandoned her there when she was just a tiny baby and left a pink blanket as her only comfort. Sandra's father had been killed in World War II and was buried in a foreign land. His half-sister Mattie raised her without love or affection. Sandra never knew what led her birth mother to leave her in a boarding house with a brief note without much explanation. Fifty years later, Sandra's half-sister called her, revealing that all this time, her true family had been looking for her. Would Sandra find the answers to the nagging questions about her mother? The Pink Bundle by SJ McGarry is a quick and meaningful read for fans of family drama, motivational and short prose concerning social issues.

The Pink Bundle is an emotional read complemented by SJ McGarry's lyrical writing style. I appreciated the author's heartwarming dedication at the beginning of the story and the touching message this novella sends out. This account describes the transformational inner journey of a woman craving love and the answer to the nagging question of whether she deserved to be loved. McGarry uses interesting metaphors, like the pink blanket that symbolizes innocence, love, hope, and later forgiveness. Sandra witnesses the old boarding house being demolished to give place to something new. It encourages Sandra to rethink her life and draw the conclusions necessary for finding peace of mind. McGarry's philosophy behind this work is profound and enlightening. The author inspires us to let the past go because it's the only way to continue evolving and flourishing despite the inevitable wounds.