Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"The Trouble with Lexie"

Jessica Anya Blau's books include The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, Drinking Closer to Home, and The Wonder Bread Summer.

Blau applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Trouble with Lexie, and reported the following:
Page 69 is around the time I’ll either plunge ahead or abandon a book. (Yes, I do that. I always fear I’m going to be struck dead by the next speeding car, so I don’t have time to finish books I don’t love). Hopefully, readers will keep reading when they get to page 69 in The Trouble with Lexie.

Here’s the center chunk of the page. Daniel, 52, is the father of one of the kids at the elite New England boarding school where Lexie, 33, is the school counselor. He, like his father and his grandfather, is also an alumnus. Daniel’s great-looking (think of Kyle Chandler in Friday Night Lights), sexy and successful. Lexie’s anxious, a little neurotic, an over-thinker at times and a romantic. She comes from a home (apartment) where she wasn’t parented and was kicked out at 15 in order to make room for her mother’s boyfriend who was moving in. Lexie and Daniel have just had sex for the first time. Lexie, who has only had sex with three other people (and only after they’d done a full STD panel) is stunned by what’s just gone down. She’s also worried she caught a disease.

The she to whom the dialogue refers is Jen Waite, Daniel’s wife. Lexie is the first speaker here:
“You think there is no way on earth she’s had sex with anyone but you in twenty years?”

“Twenty-two years. I’d bet my son’s life on it. And I know absolutely that I haven’t had sex with anyone else in twenty-two years.”

“So why are you so calm?” Was he lying? Lexie felt the shallow water of nausea stir in her stomach. Had she been completely bamboozled?


“This isn’t freaking you out? I mean for twenty-two years, you’ve been having sex with the same woman, the same naked body, the same vagina, the same breasts, the same mouth, night after night after night. And now you’re here with me. And you’re not totally freaking out?”

“I don’t freak out. I’m not a freak-out guy.”
I’ve always found that sex scenes are a good way to show character. If you take someone’s clothes off and have them touch another body, you can usually see exactly who they are. Lexie here is true to herself—worried about what’s just happened and how it will affect the future. Daniel is still somewhat mysterious to Lexie, and to the reader. His shellacked shell does get cracked away by the end of the book, but at this point the reader, like Lexie, can’t be sure if he should be trusted or not. One interesting thing about page 69 in The Trouble with Lexie is if the reader goes back and rereads it after getting to the end of the book, it will have a whole new level of meaning.
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Anya Blau's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Jessica Anya Blau and Pippa.

My Book, The Movie: The Trouble with Lexie.

--Marshal Zeringue