Freight by Mel Bosworth (A Review by Morowa Yejidé)

Folded Word Press


It isn’t often that a story allows us to simply muse, to contemplate the high and the low of things, but Mel Bosworth’s Freight does just that.  This novel is aware of its own kind of weight by allowing the reader to travel along with a single character through an odyssey of whimsical observations and difficult realizations.  Airport security check points, with the trays and lines of passengers removing shoes and articles of clothing, are described as “slumber parties.”  Dealing with personal pain, addiction, loss, and longing is described as “eating yourself like a black hole, like a collapsing star.”  The profound is thrown in relief against the mundane like paints splashed on a canvas. You understand this about Freight when you read such lines as, “Experience is my favorite color.”

Freight is as a much a story about the journey of this nameless character through the hills and valleys of alcohol and food addition as it is the passage through other peoples’ lives that were a part of his experience; travels through destructive relationships and memories of better times, screeching halts at points of self-destruction, and sometimes just the flow of an ordinary life.  Bosworth conveys this flowing through time and memory with great beauty with lines like:

“We are planets, each of us.  Orbiting. Bumping. Smashing. Collapsing into black holes.”

It is also this musing, contemplative tone of Freight that sometimes gets in its own way a bit, with a telescopic look not just at the mundane, but at minutiae. There are passages that wonder whether hands have brains.  Or share a brain.  Or whether brains can be in thumbs.  We lumber with the character after he eats an entire pizza, and looks into a toilet that “grinned” after he vomits into it.

Oddly enough, while descriptors of bodily functions were not at the top of my list for narrative appeal, Freight does have a wonderful way of likening human experiences to the physicality of things carried, lost, or found, and this is where Bosworth’s storytelling is quite unique— not to mention the shifting puzzle piece fun of reading one section and being given a page key to skip to another part of the book to read a corresponding section.

Perhaps Freight’s greatest gift is allowing us to ponder about what has happened to the character and what it means for him, as well as wonder about things (great and small) that we might otherwise not stop and think about.  There is a certain level of honesty in Bosworth’s writing that has plain and simple appeal. We think about the notion that “nothing ever goes away and nothing ever dies.”  Memories lift from the page.  I was pulled into my own fond childhood memory of bare feet on wet grass right alongside the narrator.  I thought about what I’d wanted to forget, or what I thought I’d wanted to forget too.  Freight may be one of the few books where there is plenty of room to bring in one’s own baggage, have a seat, and enjoy the ride.


Morowa Yejidé’s short stories have appeared in the Istanbul Literary Review, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, The Taj Mahal Review, Underground Voices, The Adirondack Review, and others.  Her story “To Do List” was a 2011 Dzanc Books Best of the Web nominee by Jersey Devil Press.  Her story “Tokyo Chocolate” was one of the ten stories published in the 2009 Willesden Herald Anthology, and was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. She is also the 2010 recipient of the Norris Church Mailer Scholarship for creative writing from Wilkes University.