The second story in the exciting anthology, Twisted Tales, is by Anita Kovacevic. Kovacevic has a novella on Amazon, The Threshold as well as three children’s books and short stories in two other anthologies.
Active vs. Passive is an intriguing and timely story of the mother of a teenage boy who is struggling to make ends meet on a tight budget. Missing her bus home after a job interview she goes for a walk by the river, killing time until the next bus arrives. She comes upon a book laying on a large rock and examining it more closely realizes it is a “leather bound diary” written by the mother of a young boy. Thus begins a poignant tale of one mother’s painful realization that her son is being badly bullied at school. As she reads the diary she finds similarities between the behavior of the boy described in the journal and the recent behavior of her own son.
Kovacevic approaches this sensitive and painful subject slowly and gently, as each mother’s awareness of something being amiss increases. Tension builds as these women are subtly connected through their son’s experiences. Observing the escalation of the situation through one mother’s written revelations, the reader of the diary is drawn along the path to her own raising awareness. The penultimate moment comes when it seems the writer of the diary may have been overcome by the futility of her situation and her inability to protect her child leading her to drastic action.
What follows is a satisfying conclusion leaving the reader with the optimistic hope that three boys have been “saved”. This can be viewed as a cautionary tale for all parents. The diary reader vows to “really talk” to her son and more importantly, “hear” him. Bullying is not a new phenomenon but only recently has it gotten some attention. This short story is a step toward raising awareness of the seriousness and long term effects of childhood bullying.