Friday, April 26, 2013

"Reconstructing Amelia"

Kimberly McCreight attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After several years as a litigation associate at some of New York City’s biggest law firms, she left the practice of law to write full-time. Her work has appeared in such publications as Antietam Review, Oxford Magazine, Babble, and New York Magazine online.

McCreight applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Reconstructing Amelia, and reported the following:
Interestingly, page 69 of Reconstructing Amelia is a series of text conversations between Amelia and several different people. It’s certainly a unique slice of the novel, but I’m not sure it’s exactly representative of the story as a whole. The texts will be especially intriguing to some, but I can imagine they might make other readers a little wary—fearing that the entire book is comprised of such entries.

The multimedia elements are one of my favorite aspects of the book, but they do comprise a fairly limited percentage of the story is told primarily in traditional chapters, alternating between Amelia and her mother Kate’s points of view.

That said, the texts and Facebook postings were critical to me. They give the narrative texture and supply important elements of the mystery. They also draw the reader more intimately into Amelia’s fifteen-year-old world.

Technology is a part of most people’s relationships today, particularly teens. These arms-length modes of communication have the potential to change the quality of the communication itself. With bullying for example—a major theme in Reconstructing Amelia—technology has made it more painful to be the victim of harassment. If tormentors jump on line there’s no escape, not even in the comfort of your own home. I think the psychic distance technology creates also makes it easier to bully. I think the ease with which harassing messages can be passed on—a single tap on a smartphone is sometimes all it takes—works to the disadvantage of potential bulliers as well. Some might not engage in such behavior at all, if they were forced to take a few minutes to reflect on it.

I hope that people will be intrigued by the texts on page 69 of my book, then be drawn in fully by the voices of Amelia and her mother Kate, which fill Reconstructing Amelia’s remaining pages.
Watch the trailer for Reconstructing Amelia, and learn more about the book and author at Kimberly McCreight's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue