“The Party Favor,” Creative Nonfiction, in New World Writing

Feeling like an outsider is not unique to young people growing up with a parent who makes barely enough money to get by. At one point or another, most kids fear they won’t be accepted—maybe at a new school, or on a new team, or by some unapproachable in crowd. In “Party Favor,” I try to recapture the excitement of being unexpectedly invited to a birthday party for one of those unapproachable people, a classmate who had pretty clothes and pretty friends and no need to notice the girls who didn’t, girls like me. But in a family struggling to make ends meet, even a simple birthday present can break the budget. My mom did her best to come up with a gift—albeit one that would baffle a sixth grader—but the real gift that day was for me, an unexpected kindness that I’ve never forgotten. https://newworldwriting.net/mary-ann-mcguigan-the-party-favor/