Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"Enough" by Alice McDermott (for school)

I read Alice McDermott's "Enough" at work today. After reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine," it was a breath of fresh air.

This story reminds me of a scene from the television show "Absolutely Fabulous" where Edina Monsoon, a woman clinging on to her hipster youth, is sitting at the kitchen table playing techno music, popping pills, smoking, reading a magazine and shoving ice cream into her mouth. The protagonist in "Enough" has an unquenchable appetite for pleasure: Sex, sex, sex, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, children, music, children, fudge and lattes.

I think I have an addictive personality. I smoke a lot, drink a lot of coffee, spend too much money on stupid stuff, etc. I don't drink too much, but when I do- I want an oversized strawberry margarita that's going to put me on the floor. I wasn't deprived of things as a child. I wasn't spoiled but I always had stuff. I don't know where this desire to constantly be in a heightened state comes from and I don't really care.

When the nameless main character in "Enough" is a child she loathes stewed fruit for dessert on Sundays. She wants the ice cream so bad and counts down the days until she gets to it. She wants instant gratification. I really wanted the character to get what she wanted. I wanted her to continue to indulge her every whim, lick every plate, sleep with every man, get fat and not care. In real life you can't do this. That is what is remarkable about this story. I knew she shouldn't be doing this, but was delighted when she did.

Despite being very upset about her miscarriages and having a bit of latte "repeat" on her, there doesn't seem to be any punishment for her actions, which was so refreshing. I also loved the last lines of this story where the narrator speaks to the reader and says not to worry about the old lady and "put your tongue to the last vein of fudge in the empty carton. . .Take another, and another. Plenty. Never enough."


  1. i'd still like to read that story. sounds wonderful.

  2. Anonymous9:30 AM

    I just read that for a research paper that I have to do on it, so if you want to help me, e-mail me at rmonie182005@aol.com. My subject is a view of "Enough" from a psychological standpoint(i.e. Freud's commentations about human sexuality and desires). Your input would really help me out.

  3. I cannot find "enough," the short story by McDeremott, in print. Can someone help me?


  4. Anonymous4:19 AM

    You can find the story "Enough" in "More Stories We Tell: The Best Contemporary Short Stories by North American Women" by Wendy Martin, ed.