The Story Behind The Story: Ann Karasinski’s A Level Playing Field

Author Ann Karasinski
“A Level Playing Field”

Several years ago in our now defunct local newspaper, I read about a woman, a wife and mother, who had died in a tragic accident. Over time the her story began to haunt me.  The newspaper described the woman’s community involvement and named her surviving family members, including a teenaged son.  I wondered how her son actually would survive, how he would remember his mother and see his dad, and how he would see himself.  Eventually, this son took up residence in my imagination and spoke to me through my own secrets and experiences and became Jason O’Donnell.

My favorite stories have always been about children, young adults, and their parents—where the heart of the story exists in the tension between parent and child.  I suppose these stories appeal to me because of my belief that the greatest love story any of us experience is the one we live with our parents.  Sometimes this love comes easily, wrapped up in bows and celebrated with trophies, but other times, it is hard-earned, requiring conditions and payment.  In A Level Playing Field, I’ve shared Jason’s story, showing the good and the bad, the easy and hard-earned love that shapes us into the people we eventually become.

Ann S. Karasinski

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