Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights"

Brooks Benjamin lives in Tennessee with his wife and their incredibly spoiled dog.

Benjamin applied the Page 69 Test to My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights, his first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
When the team met after school for the first practice of the season, everyone huddled in their usual groups. First string all together, talking and laughing. Second string doing the same thing.

And the blue team. My team. We just sort of stood around, looking at each other like we weren't really sure why we were even there.

"All right, men," Coach Bear said, waving us into one big group. He crossed his arms. They were so hairy it made his gut look like it had a unibrow. He dragged one hand down his mustache and sighed. "Thursday's our first game. Pine Ridge Middle."

Coach Donnelly nodded. "Gotta watch their backfield." He was basically a miniature version of Coach Bear.

"Yep. We're five and oh against 'em but that don't mean we ain't gonna go out there and play like we're oh and five, right?"

The team grunted out a round of cheers.

Coach Bear pulled his baseball cap down. I wasn't sure how he ever saw with it covering ninety percent of his eyes. "That's what I wanna hear! We're gonna go undefeated, boys. I ain't gonna accept a loss. Not with the offense we got this year."

More cheers. Grunts.

"You know my favorite saying. Second place is the first loser. We gonna come in second Thursday?"

After a loud round of NOs, we took off for our warm-up jog.
My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights is, at its core, a book about discovering what you're passionate about. For Dillon, it's dance. But he's currently getting nudged into football by his dad. So this scene dumps us right at the beginning of the team's first practice. We see the team, the coach, and the concept of football through Dillon's eyes for the very first time. I love how this scene follows one where Dillon and his dance crew, the Dizzee Freekz, practice a new routine because you get to see a clear difference in how he perceives the two activities. Another reason I enjoy this scene is because it's the first of many where Dillon's on the field. And the more we see Dillon dancing and practicing, the more we're able to see how each changes in his own mind. I won't say whether the changes are positive or negative ones, but they definitely don't stay the same.
Visit Brooks Benjamin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue