Thursday, February 21, 2019

"The Night Olivia Fell"

Christina McDonald is an author of suspenseful, emotional thrillers. She is also an avid bookworm and a devoted mother and wife. She was born in Seattle, Washington and now lives in London, England with her husband and two sons, where she enjoys reading, writing, hiking and lifting weights at the gym.

McDonald applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Night Olivia Fell, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I whirled to face her. “When the baby’s born, Olivia will die! So stop harping on about the baby, because that deadline means my daughter fucking dies!”

I shouldn’t have blown up at Sarah. Whatever problems I’d had with my sister, whatever resentment I’d held in my heart, Sarah had always been my rock. Even when my mom was alive, it was Sarah my teachers called if I was sick, Sarah who helped me with my homework. When I was five and got lost when we were picnicking at the beach, it was Sarah I howled for under the hot white sun. I was alone and she ran to me, shouting my name, and I knew I was safe. I never felt that way with my mom.
I think page 69 represents Abi’s internal struggle really well. Because of her traumatic past, she holds people at arm’s length. Even her sister, who’s practically raised her. She’s terrified of being abandoned.

In this scene Abi is scratching at her arms after finding out Olivia is brain dead but the baby might live. Sarah tries to comfort her by talking about the baby, but Abi lashes out angrily because even though the baby might live, Olivia will still die, and this is an impossible situation to comprehend. Abi shouts at Sarah and runs away, later reflecting on how complicated their relationship has always been.

She loves her sister because Sarah has always been there for her and she’s always felt safe with her, but Sarah cannot replace their mother. Even though she doesn’t know it yet, Abi is afraid she’ll lose Sarah like they lost their mother.

This scene shows the depth of Abi’s emotion, how broken she’s been by her past, as well as the importance of letting the love of others heal us and help us. Abi is crippled by her fear of abandonment to the point that she doesn’t allow herself to get too close to anybody. Even her own sister. She knows she’s doing it, and she loathes herself for her actions, but seems unable to stop herself. This scene sets up the internal character struggle and shows how far Abi has to go to find any sort of healing after what has happened to Olivia.
Visit Christina McDonald's website.

--Marshal Zeringue