Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"The Perfect Mother"

A journalist for thirty years, Nina Darnton wrote her first novel, An African Affair three years ago.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Perfect Mother, and reported the following:
I have to admit I was pretty skeptical about the idea that page 69 of any novel would encapsulate enough of the idea to tell you anything important about the book or whether or not you would like it. So I turned to page 69 this morning to see whether, at least in the case of my book, The Perfect Mother, that was true.

At first glance, it seemed false. My book is about a young college student, Emma, who travels to Spain on a Junior Year Abroad program and winds up accused of murder. It was inspired by the Amanda Knox case, but only in terms of those bare facts. The murder is different, the personalities of the characters are different, even the country is different. My book centers on the relationship between the mother and daughter and the mother’s steadfast belief in her daughter’s innocence even when presented with conflicting information. On page 69 we read about a meeting between Jennifer, the mother, and Roberto, a Spanish detective she has hired to help her prove her daughter’s innocence. In this conversation we don’t learn about the crime Emma is supposed to have committed nor do we hear about the charges against her or the police interrogation of her.

However, on second look, I realized that we do learn a lot that is important in a more indirect way. We see Jennifer’s involvement in the case. We meet the detective who is the only person able to both confront and comfort her. And we learn about Seville, Spain whose customs and exotic circumstances have influenced both Emma and Jennifer. Are these revelations significant because they occur on page 69, or would any page be provocative? That’s for you to find out. I’m on the fence.
Visit Nina Darnton's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Perfect Mother.

Writers Read: Nina Darnton.

--Marshal Zeringue