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Excerpt Critique: “Caged Bird Singing,” YA Fiction

Please welcome today’s anonymous aspiring author. Take a moment to read the excerpt, and please leave some constructive criticism in the comment section below.

Caged Bird Singing

YA Fiction

They were doing it again. Talking about me where they think I can’t hear. The walls in this house are paper thin, so when I’m in the laundry room I can hear every word they’re saying in the bedroom above it.

I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, though. Mama and I had one of our struggles, as she likes to call them. I stocked at the record store tonight, so I was dead tired and dreaming of my bed when she stopped me on the steps. She said there was ironing to do and Regina was already in bed.

Mama and me…well, we had words and she stomped upstairs.

So I was ironing, hoping I don’t burn my fingers, when I heard the bed creak and Dad say something about the frown on Mama’s face.

“… thinks she’s grown, talkin’ back.”

“What’s she talking back about, now?”

“I asked her to take care of the ironing. She talkin’ about how Regina should do it. I didn’t ask Regina to do it. I asked Richelle to do it.”

I almost laughed when Dad asked what was wrong with Regina’s arms. That’s what I said! She used his name, Charles, like she does when she’s irritated, and said he was missing the point. I guess I missed the point, too.

Then she said something about me quitting Spelman and coming back home to freeload.

My face was steaming, hot as the iron in my hands. You don’t know what it took me to not throw it across the room.

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