Hassman applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, girlchild, and reported the following:
The girlchild in girlchild is Rory Dawn Hendrix. Rory Dawn is a young girl playing a constant game of 52-card pickup with the mess of stories she’s been dealt about who her family is, who she is, and who, therefore, she’s destined to become. She gathers up the tales of her mother’s misadventures, reads the gleam in the school administrators’ eyes as they jealously chart Rory’s high test scores, dives into the reports from the welfare system that has long been keeping a close eye on her mother’s every move, and tries on the mythos of both the white underclass and the American Dream as represented by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and the dirty history of Eugenics. Rory is guided through all of this by a 40-year-old copy of the Girl Scout Handbook, which offers advice impractical but comforting, and by her grandmother, Shirley Rose. Grandma Shirley fights for Rory to believe in a future still wide open, despite what the slew of stories say. On page 69 we find out how girlchild got its name as Rory reflects on Shirley Rose’s words of encouragement and takes just a moment of breath to believe there might be worth in her inheritance after all.Learn more about the book and author at Tupelo Hassman's website.
From page 69:
…Grandma succeeds in reminding me of one thing, a small thing that lets me know that she is telling a truth in there somewhere. That there is a tenderness that runs quiet but sure in our blood and reveals itself as dependable a bedtime. It is the memory of Mama tucking me in at night, a name she had for me in the darkness. In the mornings when she woke me for school, I was always Sunshine, but at night I was always always girlchild.