Thursday, March 17, 2011

"You Know Who You Are"

Ben Dolnick grew up outside of Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife. He is the author of a novel, Zoology, and his work has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times and Five Chapters.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, You Know Who You Are, and reported the following:
Page 69 of my book comes smack in the middle of a chapter in which the main character, Jacob Vine, is learning to navigate the social waters of his new school. He’s in seventh grade, standing in the courtyard of a Maryland movie theater with the girl he likes, watching the couples around him with nervous fascination.
Somehow everyone in the courtyard had come to believe that a kiss ought to last as long as possible. A couple would stand at the center of a circle and kiss, their arms encircling each other’s waists, their mouths in greedy sloppy motion. Friends would stand and count, sometimes with a watch in hand. When the couple finally pulled apart, their mouths glistening, their eyes glassy and relieved, the timekeeper — often it would be a tiny boy, someone who’d seen that he couldn’t be a romantic protagonist himself and so had turned himself into an elf, a mascot, willing to be dropped into trash cans or pushed into swimming pools — would race around the courtyard announcing, ‘Thirty-two seconds! Pete and Ellen just went for thirty-two seconds!’
Each chapter in the book covers a different period in Jacob’s life (ending when he’s in his mid-twenties), and middle-school was probably the era that was most painful, in the revisiting.
Read an excerpt from You Know Who You Are, and learn more about the book and author at Ben Dolnick's website.

The Page 69 Test: Ben Dolnick's Zoology.

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

--Marshal Zeringue