Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Dear Lucy"

Julie Sarkissian is a graduate of Princeton University, where she won the Francis Leon Paige Award for creative writing, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Dear Lucy, and reported the following:
From Page 69 of Dear Lucy:
“‘How much longer, Baby,’ I ask.

Then we are quiet while the baby thinks about how much longer.

Then Samantha says, ‘He’s almost ready.’”
On page 69 of Dear Lucy, Lucy, a learning-disabled young woman, and Samantha, a pregnant teenager, both living and working on a mysterious farm, talk intimately on Samantha’s bed. Lucy asks Samantha when her baby will be born, and Samantha tells Lucy, just a little longer. As they are talking, an unopened letter falls from Samantha’s diary. Lucy can’t read but is nonetheless fascinated by words and considers a letter to be a scared object because it is a form of communication - something Lucy cherishes in any form. Lucy asks who the letter is for, and when Samantha admits the letter is for her, Lucy asks why Samantha hasn’t opened the letter. Samantha disregards Lucy’s question.

On the this page the reader learns that Samantha has been telling lies about the relationship between her and her baby’s father. Samantha, unwilling to taint Lucy’s na├»ve understanding of love and family, has been telling her that the father of the baby doesn’t know where Samantha is, and that Samantha has no way to get in touch with him. But when Lucy relays to the reader the letters addressing the envelope: TO SAMANTHA, FROM ALLEN, we know that the father of Samantha’s baby does indeed know how to contact her, though we don’t yet know why Samantha chooses not to open his letters.

Page 69 introduces Samantha’s duplicity in regards to her past, as well as highlights Lucy’s tenderness for, and lack of understanding of, the written word. Both these themes are essential emotional through-lines of Dear Lucy.
Learn more about the book and author at Julie Sarkissian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue