Monday, September 22, 2014

"In a Handful of Dust"

Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. McGinnis has a pond in her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her morals tend to cloud her vision.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, In a Handful of Dust, and reported the following:
When I turned to page 69 of In a Handful of Dust, I realized I'd lucked out. It's definitely representative of the book as a whole, and also does a great job of offering some plot setup, including Lynn's reasoning about their chosen path. Walking to California - normally an unheard of thought - makes sense to her, and she explains why, which also gives a broader sense of the world outside of Ohio, something you didn't see in Not a Drop to Drink:
One, we don't know for sure of any places set up with these desalinization plants on the East Coast. Your uncle said before he died that people in Entargo had word that the West Coast had pockets of stability, real electricity even. No one's heard a peep about the east. Two, Stebbs says even before the Shortage the east was packed full of people, the west more sparsely populated. Even though it'll be easier to find water in the east, there's also more people wanting it.
Another thing that Page 69 illustrates about Dust is that there's going to be a slightly lighter tone than Drink along with the narrator shift. Dust takes place ten years after the events in Drink, with Lucy as the main character. Her outlook on life has always been laced with humor, and she enjoys needling stoic Lynn:
Lynn: "Desperate people do desperate things."

Lucy: "Like walk across the country?"
And lastly, Page 69 also gives the reader a sense of the danger that envelops the book as a whole. It doesn't need to be stated that two women walking across a lawless country will face threats, but there are smaller dangers that present their own types of problems:
Lucy reluctantly brought her foot out from under the blanket and put it on Lynn's knee for inspection. Lynn's mouth went back to a flat line when she got a good look at the blister.

"Lord, child, I wish you'd worn a better pair of shoes."
Overall I think readers will enjoy Dust, as it broadens the landscape that Lynn and Lucy must survive in, bringing new dangers and pushing them both out of their comfort zones as they continue to grow.
Learn more about the book and author at Mindy McGinnis's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Not a Drop to Drink.

--Marshal Zeringue