Sunday, August 29, 2010

"The Life You've Imagined"

Kristina Riggle is the author of the novels Real Life & Liars (2009) and The Life You've Imagined, released this month from Avon/HarperCollins.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Life You've Imagined and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Life You've Imagined begins chapter 13, from the perspective of Amy, the formerly fat girl, now a bride getting ready to marry the man of her dreams, who doesn't understand why everything isn't perfect. This is the whole page (it's short, as it begins a chapter and starts partway down the page).
My mom looks around for a chair to sit on.

We're in Agatha's Boutique, and for most people a chair is nothing, almost nonexistent, like the spoon in your hand or the mirror on the wall, serving only as a means to an end.

Only when you're fat, none of this is nothing.

"Here, Mom," and I take her elbow and point her toward a low bench, upholstered in crushed velvet. It's wide enough for two, or wide enough for her. I remember sitting there myself when looking for a prom dress. I gave up in disgust and stayed home.

She nods her relief at finding a place to land. She crosses her legs at the ankles because she can't cross them at her knees.

I still remember the joy the first time I realized I could cross one knee over the other.

She's still breathing a little hard. We had to park far away.

"Well," she says with a little puff of air, fanning herself with a tissue. "Let's see this vision of a dress."
Amy, more than any other character in The Life You've Imagined, embodies the title of the book in all its irony. As a fat girl in high school she dreamt of a perfect wedding, perfect groom, perfect body, but never dared believe it would happen to her... until she got a dog and in taking him for walks her weight started to drop, just a bit. Thus inspired, she runs herself into the ground and eats like a rabbit until she achieves a thin body, and eventually, a rich, promising young businessman as a fiance. She'd assumed this would bring her happiness. After all, she was living the life she always imagined, right? After all, as she wrote on a piece of paper and taped to her mirror, "Every thin day is a good day!"

This passage above demonstrates the dramatic physical change that's taken place, but how she cannot truly leave behind what she used to be. This is something all the characters wrestle with, how the past literally and figuratively will not leave them alone.
Browse inside The Life You've Imagined, and learn more about the book and author at Kristina Riggle's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue