The Dragon Documentaries
by J.D. Comacho

"You're ready for this, yes you are. You work for a swanky New York magazine and you've been selected to do a piece on the Scrubb family."

At first glance, the Scrubb family seems functional: The daughter is a lawyer specializing in evictions, the mother is a family lawyer, and the father has retired from the Navy and currently coaches boxers. The odd one out seems to be the son Elmo Scrubb, who chose instead to be a writer and a thinker. Elmo's unexplained death now brings the Scrubbs under scrutiny as a reporter enters their lives to write a feature piece about it. The reporter spends some time with each individual, asking uncomfortable questions, and seeing the world through their eyes for a while. The reporter listens to the strange recordings left by Elmo shortly before his death, in which he speaks of his family and of dragons. This reporter is you.

It's not easy to use the second person perspective but Camacho nails it. He gives the reader just enough sensory information to place them into the shoes of the protagonist—that is, you. The nameless protagonist doesn't have a voice, asking every question indirectly to further the illusion. The other characters, on the other hand, are explored largely through their words. As you get to know each family member better, you listen to the way they speak about their family and their lives. Then you watch as their actions in their chosen profession, which the author is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about. These episodes feel tangential at times, but they reveal even more about the characters than their words ever can. How did family and life circumstances lead Elmo to take a final dive off that cliff? What are the dragons Elmo speaks of? The Dragon Documentaries is an interesting look at the bonds the bind us together—or break us apart.

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