Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives"

Josie Brown's novels include True Hollywood Lies and Impossibly Tongue-Tied.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, and reported the following:
Page 69:
...that about me? Oh, let me guess: that nymphomaniac Tammy."

"No, not exactly--"

"Don't cover up for her. Damn it, she's not even very subtle about it. The only reason she offered to straighten out my cupboards was so that she could climb up on a ladder in those low-slung tight-ass jeans. And every time I turn around, she's trying to get me out of my clothes. I can't prove, but I swear she deliberately put a pen in the wash with my underwear." He shakes his head wearily. "Hell, maybe I should take her up on her offer and screw her brains out. It might actually calm her down. At the very least she'd finally shut up about it."

That stops me cold. If Tammy were already sleeping with him she certainly wouldn't be talking about i, to anyone.

Neither would Colleen, for that matter. Or Brooke or Isabelle. Sure they all desire Harry. But only because he's a nice, safe fantasy, and not some dirty reality that could blow up in their faces.

"I do believe you, Harry." When I look up at him, I'm happy to see he is relieved. "But--"

"But what?"

"Well, I--really, we all happened to see Margot's bike behind your bushes. We assumed that she was inside. With you. Then, when the back door opened and shut while we were in the house, I thought she'd slipped out..."

Harry's face is blank. Then all of a sudden he beings to laugh.

"What's so funny?"

"That must have been when Lucky got loose. As for the bike, it's still there. Go ahead, take a look."

I jump out of the car ad look behind the bush. He's right.

"Did she just leave it here?"

"Margot? Hell, no. Laurel brought it over. When she babysat for Temple yesterday. When I got home from work, it was dark, so I drove her home instead of letter her ride it. She's picking it up after cheerleading practice.
Is page 69 representative of the rest of the book? Would a reader skimming that page be inclined to read on?

Hmmm...loaded question!

That depends! I think that it certainly invites readers to want to figure out "what the hell is going on here?"

In fact, if a book were a screenplay (say, 110 pages of screenplay to 330 pages of book, or 3 book pages-to-1 screenplay page) this would put us on 23-minute mark, or in an area of the screenplay Blake Snyder calls "Setting the theme."

That said, yes, it sets the theme: neighborhood DILF (Daddy I'd like to...well, you get the idea) a former master-of-the-universe/now stay-at-home dad is working hard to fit in. However, there are some much-to-friendly neighbors making his life miserable.

But before that scene we learn why his own marriage fell apart, and after we see its correlation with the narrator's: the neighbor with whom he's conversing, Lyssa.

Bottom line: if it piques your interest, please do pick up a copy!.
Learn more about the book and author at Josie Brown's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue