Sunday, February 21, 2016

"The Opposite of Everyone"

New York Times bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson's books include the novels: Someone Else’s Love Story, gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.

Jackson applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, The Opposite of Everyone, and reported the following:
The Opposite of Everyone is narrated by a successful, ruthless lawyer, Paula Vauss, who hasn’t spoken to her mother, Kai, in more than fifteen years. She gets a cryptic letter from Kai, who is dying. It indicates that Paula might not be an only child.

Page 69 is a flashback to Paula’s disordered childhood. I think it’s perfect as a single page representation, because Paula here defines her relationship with Kai. Kai is an itinerate storyteller who uses Southern Oral tradition to retell Hindu god stories. Paula says her mother speaks with “with all the authority vested in her by her flea market prayer beads and her lotus flower tramp stamp.” They live a nomadic life, close to homeless, and Kai also reinvents and retells their personal history as they rove.
She acts like this is just another chapter in our endlessly mutable story, Kai towing me as she moves from man to man. I never fought or even questioned it, because of the truth at the root of our shared life: Kai doesn’t love me like she loves the boyfriends.

Boyfriend Love is the light on a bug’s back end, flicking on and off across a lawn. It begins with lies and kissing. It devolves into fighting and boredom. It ends with hasty packing and sometimes robbery. It is easily replaced by fresher love.

Me and Kai were always more than that.
In this scene, eleven year old Paula is about to tell a story of her own, one that will land her mother in jail for two years, put her into foster care, and cause a rift in their relationship that will form the book’s central conflict.
Learn more about the book and author at Joshilyn Jackson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

The Page 69 Test: Backseat Saints.

The Page 69 Test: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.

--Marshal Zeringue