Short applied the Page 69 Test to My One Square Inch of Alaska, and reported the following:
By page 69 of My One Square Inch of Alaska, we’re in chapter 8 of Donna Lane’s story. Donna is a 17-year-old girl, coming-of-age in 1953 Ohio, and bears the burdens of filling the mama role for her younger brother (their actual mama disappeared shortly after he was born), trying to keep the household running in spite of their dad’s self-pitying attitude and alcoholism, and seeking, against all odds, an opportunity to follow her own dreams and escape the strictures of their small town. By now readers know that Will, Donna’s little brother, longs to get a deed to one square inch of the Alaska Territory through a cereal box promotion. His seemingly small dream for a trivial spot of land represents the need all of us have to find and follow a dream; Will longs to go to Alaska, while Donna’s inner journey is accepting the value of her own dreams.Learn more about the book and author at Sharon Short's website, and follow her on Facebook.
But not long before page 69, Donna has met Jimmy—a young man who, it seems, could give her an “easy” way out of the life she longs to escape. On page 69, he’s taking her back to their house. Donna narrates…The closer we got to 230 Elmwood Street, the more my heart thudded. It was dark, so Jimmy wouldn’t really be able to see how ramshackle our house looked compared with everyone else’s. But it was also late, much later than I usually got home on a Friday night at Dot’s Corner Café.Given previous events in the story, Donna knows that that truck means trouble—real trouble—for her and for Will. She also knows she could rely on Jimmy to get her out of that trouble.
I prayed, Please… let the porch light be off, the living room dark, just a glow coming from Will’s room, Will reading his comic books under the bedspread…
But Dad’s car was in the driveway. The porch light was on. The living room was lit up. Will’s bedroom window was dark. And parked by the curb was a ramshackle truck with faded lettering on the back: Stedman’s Scrapyard…
But Donna makes a decision; when Jimmy offers to come in with her, she rebuffs him. “’Not tonight, Jimmy,’ I said firmly, and slammed the driver’s door shut…”
Donna and Jimmy’s relationship isn’t over, not by any stretch, but in that moment, Donna establishes her character, and the inner motivation and strength for the much bigger decisions she must make later for herself and for Will.