Welcome to the college experience, where young adults are suicidal, don’t feel like they belong, are swimming – and drowning in academic pressure and where the term ´school shooting´ isn’t surreal to picture. All of the above resulting in deep personal crises within these young people.
In T. Coraghessan Boyle’s short story “She’s the Bomb” from 2017, we´re introduced to the young adult Hailey Phegler and we get to:” since fiction allows us to do this, we’ll go directly inside her head and attempt to assess the grinding awfulness of this moment” (P.1 ll. 8-9)
Hailey is a young adult, faking to everyone that she´s (still) enrolled in college.
This has gone on for quite some time, and now she’s at the graduation ceremony in cap and gown – not on the list of graduates and with her unknowing mother at the ceremony.
The point of view is not limited to Hailey, which makes the narrator seem to be omniscient. The narrator has knowledge of everyone and everything, more than the character Hailey does.
Through backstories, we learn a lot about Hailey.
She recounts experiences from her life, involving her mother, an ex-boyfriend, hard times and the story of how she has been pretending to her friends and family that she’s still enrolled in college.” going home and having to act as if everything was okay and listen to her mother go on about how proud she was of her, the first one in their family to graduate college and could she possibly know how much that meant to her?” (P.3 ll.97-99)
Hailey is letting us know she has a troubled relationship with her mother and letting on she’s feeling some guilt towards her pretend life. “Connor unceremoniously dumped her to go out with Chrissie Fortgang, a blonde stuck-up bitch whose father owned half the building-supply stores in upstate New York and Vermont too, and she went into a depression that just kept spiraling down till she hated herself and couldn’t get out of bed and for a while there…” (P.3 ll.106-109)
We are welcomed into her inner world, with emotional and mental health problems. Although the fact that Hailey evidently wishes to kill herself, is mentioned at the beginning of the story, this becomes clearer and acts as an important topic.