Dear Prudence

By: Steven Savile

Star Rating:



Spoiler Disclaimer


Miller writes a note for his wife, Prudence, who isn't at home, letting her know that he's going out for a while. When he's finished, he doesn't feel that it quite conveys what he really wanted to say, so he keeps rewriting it, adding more vitriol and violence as he goes along until he's come up with some very creative and disturbing ways of killing her.


"Dear Prudence" is a very short story of only about ten pages. I almost hesitate to even call it a story, because it doesn't really have a plot that I could discern. It's told in epistolary format as a guy named Miller writes a note to his wife, Prudence, to let her know that he's going out for a while. Not satisfied with the original, he keeps rewriting it with increasing vitriol and violence, until at the end, he takes the note back to a nice normal tone.

I have to admit that I didn't get this "story" at all. I just didn't understand what was going on in Miller's head. Was he really this upset with his wife? Or was he perhaps bored and letting his imagination run wild? Either way, it was a pretty uncomfortable story for me - as a woman - to read, because it reeked of misogyny and I had no idea if he really did want to kill his wife or not. However, if not, I don't know why someone would go the trouble of writing such violent letters. This was not an enjoyable read for me, nor did I find it in any way funny. It wasn't even paranormal per se, so I'm not quite sure how it fit into this anthology except that it is pretty horrific. I'll admit that maybe there's something subtle in it that I'm missing, but overall I felt that it was mostly a waste of my time. I never say something like that lightly because I always try to look for the positives in any story I read. However, the only one I could find here was that the mechanics of the writing were reasonably sound. "Dear Prudence" can be found in the anthology Blood Lite.


Steven Savile