“Deborah Do Psychiatry in Tucson AZ” by Debra M. Fernandez-Turner is a short story about an eleven year old girl who is suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. The story begins with the narrator, who is an FBI agent assigned to the case of a minor child kidnapping, describing her child to the FBI agent. After a few minutes of this description, it becomes clear that the narrator is not telling the whole story but only part of it. As she describes the kidnapping, she is suddenly overcome with memories of the tragic events she experienced when the girl was seven years old.
The narration describes what happened while she was seven years old, including her memory loss, her parents’ separation and eventual death. It is then left for the reader to decide whether this memory loss or the resulting emotional trauma should be blamed for the girl’s depression. It is also left for the reader to decide if the girl is the victim of a child abduction. She is not. There is no evidence pointing to an adult or juvenile crime. What the narrator was describing was her own mental state that led to the tragic events.
The narrator is one of the main characters, though not the central character. She is not the main character or even the protagonist. The story is told from several different perspectives that the reader is left with a mixture of the most complex questions of human nature and psychology. The complexity of the questions and the use of multiple narrators are what makes “Deborah Do Psychiatry in Tucson AZ” such a unique short story. It is a quick read with some very dark humor, but does offer some very deep insights into the mind of the narrator, which is why this particular story has become such a classic piece of short fiction.
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