Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"Penelope Lemon: Game On!"

Inman Majors is the author of five novels including the newly released Penelope Lemon: Game On!.

A native of Tennessee, Majors received his BA from Vanderbilt University and his MFA from The University of Alabama. He is a professor of English at James Madison University and makes his home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Majors applied the Page 69 Test to Penelope Lemon: Game On! and reported the following:
From page 69:
Chapter 10

Penelope charged toward the softball family, sure of foot and feigning good cheer, the baskets of fried vegetables as the lamest of peace offerings. Before she even arrived, the mother called out: “And what is that?”

“Just some appetizers. On the house.”

“No. I mean that big pile of something.”

Penelope set the baskets of fries down first. Then realizing what the woman was pointing at, she said: “Oh, this is our Funion Platter.”

“Your what platter?”

Penelope hated to repeat the name. In normal situations it made her laugh anytime someone ordered it. Riblets had the same effect. But she soldiered on: “Funion Platter. It’s like a huge onion ring that everyone can share.”

She smiled as she said this, to show she didn’t find the woman’s tin ear for wordplay off-putting. In the meantime, the woman had grabbed the basket before Penelope could set it down and said to the table in a harsh voice that showed what she thought of puns in lieu of ordered entrees: “Anyone want a funion ring?”

“What I want is the steak sandwich I ordered thirty minutes ago,” the father said.

Penelope noticed he had pulled his baseball cap extra low, as if trying to squeeze thoughts of food out of his mind before passing out. Or maybe to suppress burgeoning homicidal instincts. His beard looked
I’d say page 69 of Penelope Lemon: Game On! is fairly representative of the book though it’s more of a set-up page for funnier stuff to come. My protagonist, Penelope Lemon, recently divorced and strapped for cash, has taken the only job she can find in the small town of Hillsboro, Virginia—waiting tables at a frontier-styled steakhouse called Coonskins, where the décor is heavy on stuffed mammals and peanut shells tossed willfully to the floor.

Anyone who has waited tables will recognize the tyrannical family of five who have just been seated in her section. They are part of a traveling girls softball team which has stopped at Coonskins for lunch. Unfortunately, the cooks in the kitchen have screwed up the family’s order. Penelope attributes this mistake to the fact that all the cooks—for the first time ever—aren’t absolutely bat-shit stoned. “Their work brains were all fuzzy with sobriety.” Apparently Hillsboro is going through a dry patch in the weed department.

Nonetheless, the family blames Penelope for the mistake and have been pelting her with peanut shells every time her back is turned. As low blood sugar begins to reign, a showdown looms between the aggressive family matriarch and poor Penelope.

What is representative on page 69 I hope is the wordplay in the scene: the analysis of the ridiculous menu items—Funion Platter/riblets—that make Penelope cringe or laugh every time she has to say them. That sort of thing occurs throughout the novel. What’s also representative is Penelope’s kindness and cordiality despite the very rude people before her. She’s not big on confrontation and is generally a laidback and easy-going person.

But she is about to get plonked with a flying legume one too many times.
Visit Inman Majors's website.

--Marshal Zeringue