Review of Casey Plett, “Failure” in Gwen Benaway, ed., Mother, Maiden, Crone, (Bedside Press, 2019): 127-134 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
The first-person narrator is a reviver, traveling from place to place, always on her own. Revivers rarely ever stay long in one place, or spend much time with other revivers (which makes me wonder how a reviver gets trained in the first place). Along the way, she (all revivers “grow from boys to women” p. 130) meets a stranger unlike any she’s ever met before, and they force the reviver to contemplate an awful decision.
I think many people reading this story can sympathise with the idea of never doing, never being, enough. It’s hard to practice self-care when there is always someone else that could be helped, something more that could be improved. (If you don’t sympathise with this, then you are very lucky or very privileged or both.) In the end, I think the reviver made the right decision.