Seniesa Estrada and her father live in a gang-ridden, poor area of LA. When she’s eight, Seniesa decides she wants to box. It turns out she’s good at it—and that succeeding at it may save both her father and herself.

Streeter does a neat job of sticking with what’s at stake in this story. He also skillfully builds narrative arc: He sets up questions, shows Seniesa’s setbacks and in the end delivers a sense of resolution. His scenes are vivid and effective. We were convinced of Seniesa’s guts and skill, and also found room, in Streeter’s approach, for our discomfort with the violent world of boxing.

We were interested in Streeter’s use of the first person. We appreciated the acknowledgement of his presence in scenes. At times we wondered if we really needed to know about his reactions to events—but decided that if he hadn’t let us know about his place in the scene, we’d have wondered about it. In the end, the first person lends an authenticity and honesty to the piece that adds to its effectiveness.

Read “The Girl: A Surprise in the Ring,” by Kurt Streeter

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