Looking for nonfiction or news story that features an unexpected outcome
October 24, 2021 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend any nonfiction or news stories that have a surprise twist or ending (think: real-life O. Henry situations). The more dramatic the better. This is for a high school literature class. Thank you!
posted by WaspEnterprises to Education (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this is what you had in mind, but the first piece I thought of was Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee, where he sets up Dave Brower as being a chicken at the end of one section, and then at the start of the next one, he lists out all the risky outdoor achievements Bower had been the first to complete, showing that he was absolutely not afraid.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:45 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

(You could also pair this with the first chapter of Draft No. 4, McPhee's autobiographical writing book, where he talks explicitly about how he set up that section, and why the piece is structured like it is.)
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Well, there’s always the story of Brother Orange.
posted by danceswithlight at 4:23 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: Three identical strangers?

I think there's might be other "separated/switch at birth" stories that apply, like the one posted on the blue earlier in the summer or this story of a woman who was raised Black.

Or that story about the shipwrecked Tongan kids?

posted by fiercekitten at 4:47 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

There's the delightful story of the missing Sri Lankan handball team.
posted by bq at 7:51 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: See, "The Professor, the Bikini Model, and a Suitcase Full of Trouble". It's a New York Times article about a physics professor who is arrested for smuggling drugs out of Argentina. There's a twist toward the end of the article.
posted by alex1965 at 7:35 AM on October 25, 2021

This switched at birth story is riveting: The Lives of Others.
posted by hessie at 8:35 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Maybe the one where two guys head out to the Arizona desert and shoot up some saguaros — one of the men is fatally crushed beneath the elderly sagaro that he damaged. According to Snopes, it’s true.
posted by dreamphone at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

that reminds me of the Death Valley Germans:

posted by bq at 1:57 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

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