First Fiction Friday: WROL (Without Rule of Law)

July 23, 2021

Michaela Jeffery's debut play,  WROL: Without Rule of Law (Playwrights Canada Press) will resonate with any young woman who has ever been told she is "too much." Part Judy Blume, part Rambo, this darkly comic coming-of-age tells the story of a group of preteen "doomers" as they prepare for survival in the post-collapse society they anticipate inheriting. 

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THE BOOK: WROL (Without Rule of Law) (Playwrights Canada Press, 2021)


THE AUTHOR: Michaela Jeffery is an award-winning Calgary-based playwright and graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. Selected writing credits include WROL (Without Rule of Law), Wolf on the Ringstrasse, The Listening RoomGodhead, and Always. She was a finalist for the Alberta Playwrights' Network 2019 Alberta Playwriting Competition and a past finalist of the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s RBC Emerging Playwright Award. 


WHY YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW: WROL (Without Rule of Law) is a story about five eighth-grade “doomers”—but it’s not aimed at kids. The play is for adults to watch, to listen, to read of the experiences of children—specifically girls—who are fatigued with fighting to belong in a world that doesn’t reflect their values and won’t listen to their fears.

The characters of WROL (Without Rule of Law) are so worried for their futures in their society that they’ve turned to disaster preparedness and training for survival; they take their Girl Scout training into their own hands. “No one was interested in giving us any real skills,” Maureen, the youngest yet most direct of the group, says. “No one cared about us ‘being prepared’ for anything real.”

Their energy is channelled into something that feels tangible when the five preteens sneak out at night to investigate an ominous hidden home in the woods that could have ties to a mysterious local cult that disappeared a decade ago. Maureen and Robbie, who quite possibly is scared of the dark, are the first to arrive. They start to catalogue every item such as cans of food and animal bones. Sarah, who carries a heavy knapsack of emergency supplies and books, comes in next with her new friend Vic, a new girl who wasn’t exactly invited. Finally, Jo arrives late, bruised, but otherwise gung-ho. While the group explores and express their frustration about things in their lives, they find there’s a tunnel dug deep into the earth of the home, which could possibly connect to a network of mineshafts over which the cult development was constructed, and thus could potentially change everything...

Though this sounds sombre, the story is very genuine, charming, and will speak to those of us who have felt like we’re “too much” to be taken seriously.



Pair Judy Blume’s earnest and inspiring tween and teen stories with the fighting spirit of Rambo to create a reading experience so exciting that it will make you want to share it with all of your friends.






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Thanks to Jessica Lewis at Playwrights Canada Press for sharing WROL with us!  WROL is available for purchase on All Lit Up. 

For more debut fiction, check out our other  First Fiction Friday posts on All Lit Up. 



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