Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Beach Week"

Susan Coll is the author of the novels Acceptance,, and Rockville Pike.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Beach Week, her latest novel, and reported the following:
Page 69:
…He took a deep breath, as if anticipating her reaction. “I got an e-mail, and I confess I didn’t really pay any attention to it. I should have forwarded it to you, but I---well, I just figured you got it, too, and since this is your thing, I thought I’d just let you deal with it.”

My thing?”

“Okay, well our thing. I didn’t mean it like that. I give up. I’m just digging a deeper hole here.”
Page 69 is sort of a workhorse; while it’s not particularly artful, it does get right to the heart of the matter in the sense that it captures a family mid-bicker about Beach Week. This is the story of how a high school rite of passage in which graduating seniors go off to the Delaware shore for a week of presumed debauchery puts pressure on a family, and on an already fragile marriage. When I began to write this book, the only thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted to capture the climate of lunacy that has adults thinking they can regulate teenage behavior by generating a lot of paperwork and holding a lot of meetings that involve lectures, pledges, and the signing of legal contracts. Meanwhile the couple at the center of this novel is in disagreement about whether their daughter should be permitted to attend Beach Week at all. As the book progresses they tacitly switch positions for reasons that have less to do with their daughter than with themselves, and the fighting becomes increasingly petty. In this patch of dialogue they are having a little tiff about who got what email, and who initiated this conversation in the first place. More time and energy is spent discussing the logistics of Beach Week than on the event itself, and in that sense, this is a reasonably representative page.
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Coll's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Susan Coll & Zoe.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue