Pet Milk by Stuart Dybek

56c4ca7951b9f912e901009e5998d3f7So, now that I am back in school I’m going to be doing a ton of assigned reading. Since this blog is, in theory, a way to keep track of everything that I read this year I’ve decided to include the stories that I read for class as well. By doing this, hopefully, it will also help me to remember what I’ve read and better discuss my feelings on the texts with my class.

This is the first reading that has been assigned to me by my Creative Acts professor. I think it was an interesting choice to have us read this for the first assignment of the semester, but I have to say I enjoyed it.

The narrator starts off discussing how he puts pet milk into his coffee and that it was something that his grandmother had done when she made coffee as well. I’m not going to lie, I thought that pet milk meant that it was milk from a domesticated animal like a cat or a dog. I grew up with cats and often my parents would buy cat milk to feed to the kittens that we had, so thinking that someone would put that in their coffee kind of grossed me out. I know now that it is PET milk and that it is just evaporated cow’s milk. I guess that makes me feel better.

I liked how the story started off with this anecdote of his grandmother and how he would watch the creamy PET milk blend into the coffee. If anything, this author is amazingly great at giving sensory details. I felt like I could relate to the smells and sights that he described so well because of the way he described them.

The way that the PET milk blended and swirled reminded him of a drink that he would have at a restaurant with his girlfriend at the time and then led the narrator to tell a story about the restaurant that he would frequent and the girl that he would go there with.

I really liked the ending, even though it left me wanting more. I guess with a story this short having an ending so quick makes sense, but I thought that the story was going somewhere else.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the story but I thought that it was too much like a stream of thoughts. There really wasn’t any theme to the story that held up from beginning to end. It felt sort of like he was making coffee, then thinking about his grandmother, and then the restaurant, and then this girl, and how he saw a boy begin to wave to him while he was on a train.

I’m interested to see what other people from my class thought about this one.

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