I Am The Lion Now: Short Story, Summary, Plot Analysis and Review

picture of a possum

I Am The Lion Now is a short story by Edan Lepucki. It revolves around a pregnant woman that lives in LA with her husband. The couple lead an ordinary life until a possum shows up at their door. 

No, I am not talking about the famous incident at the Bronx zoo where a woman jumped into a lion’s enclosure and seemed to taunt him.

I am going to talk about Edan Lepucki’s short story – ‘I am the lion now’.

I Am The Lion Now: Summary and Plot Analysis

The story revolves around a pregnant woman named Margaret who lives in an apartment in LA with her husband Toby.

They seem like a pretty average LA couple differing in one aspect of sexual activity. Margaret maintains a journal of their date of their ‘deeds’ thinking to herself that someday a biographer would find that significant piece of information worth recording while her husband bakes a second cake for her after burning the first one, to satiate her pregnancy craving.

While Margaret is left to her own thoughts whiling away her time in her bath tub, her husband finds a possum (which he mistook for a rat initially) and in the ensuing chaos, a book burns in the bathroom while a possum runs all across the kitchen with an almost chubby man on its tail.

Toby comes to like the little possum and even convinces his ‘cold’ wife to provide food and shelter even for one night. The baby possum is later located by its family but having seen it touched/tampered by the humans is left alone.

A few weeks after the episode, Toby sees the possum, who is a teenager now, only to have it hiss at him.

He is the lion now.

I Am The Lion Now Review

The story is pretty ordinary story until you take into the account how it has been said. This story is written by Lepucki in a very interesting omniscient third person point of view. The style that has been seen on and off in English literature for a long time.

She has presented the point of view of the animate and inanimate objects alike. It is like a breath of fresh air. Consider the following quotes from the story –

“The Possum glares and hisses, ‘I am the lion now'”

There is a reference in the story where Margaret recalls a novel that she recently read about a bunch of zealots in an Afghani zoo where one of them cut a bear’s nose because its beard was too short, while another jumped into a lion’s enclosure and announces himself as a lion, and eventually gets killed. I love how she gave voice to the possum.

“But I am worth it’ – whispered the book”

While Margaret lies in the bath tub thinking the book that she is reading is too challenging, and longs to look at a tabloid containing pictures of pregnant celebrities. The book then reads her mind and thinks itself to be worth Margaret’s time.

A place where books can actually speak with me, for real, oh! that’s what I call dreamland!

This one cracked me up –

“They were married, and passion was not greater than cake”

This references to Toby’s second attempt at making cake for his wife and deliberately not putting the timer on. Simply because he knew that when in the act, they would consider stopping it a more likely scenario than ruining the cake. Laugh-worthy reality of our times, folks!

“Let the squeamish suffer their fear, let them live without really living. Margaret was safe in her risk taking.”

This references to Margaret’s bath tub: grimy and rusty near the drain, but that doesn’t scare her, because she does not wash her fruit either and kisses dogs on the mouth. This in Margaret’s mind, is risk taking personified. The life of a modern outlier, eh?

“All crises, once averted, become jokes”

After dousing the fire and seeing the remnants of her charred book, Margaret quips ‘Oops, I guess I won’t be reading this’. I couldn’t help but stroll down my own memory lane and smiled.

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