Response Essay – “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had”
Pam Houston’s “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had” tells the tale of a girl who wants nothing more than to be with someone who is in love with another. This story was chosen due to its relation to the many conflicts and lessons that I myself have learned throughout life thus far. The protagonist seems to strive for the unattainable, which I feel many of us have dealt with in our lives one way or another. I have learned that too much effort in the search for love will lead you nowhere, but discouraged and hurt. It seems once happiness is obtained in oneself; others tend to notice, which can often lead to relationships that have been longed for, even if it isn’t with the one you wish to be with at that particular moment in time. If she would be able to relax and focus on her own happiness, things may begin to fall in place.
The protagonist, Lucy O’Rourke, a freelance photographer, moves from Colorado suggesting her loss of identity by being unable to “separate anymore what was the land and what was me” hoping to find an “order to the city” in San Francisco (Houston 771). Upon arrival she meets a promising, brilliant young man by the name of Gordon, who eventually, verbally abuses her on a regular basis due to his jealous personality. It appears the move has brought about more trouble and lack of any stable happiness thus far.
She finds Leo, an architect, who she spends a great deal of time with, discussing love and relationships, although he sees her much like a sister or girlfriend through the title statement, “Aren’t I the best girlfriend you never had?” (Houston 773). It also doesn’t help that he appears to be in love with someone else. The attempt to force this relationship in her mind causes much trouble as she has very deep emotions for this man. This portrayal of a perfect life seems a bit fitting, with her profession as a photographer, which leads her to capture subjects that express the life she...
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