Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"They All Fall Down"

Rachel Howzell Hall's books include the Lou Norton mystery series. Her first novel, A Quiet Storm, was a featured selection of Borders’ Original Voices program, as well as an alternate selection of the Black Expressions book club. She lives in Los Angeles.

Hall applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, They All Fall Down, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I, too,had waited for something magical to happening my life. I thought it had been meeting Billy, then marrying Billy. I thought it had been giving birth to Morgan, but then ... no. When would it happen, that something magical? On this island, maybe? Maybe.

“Woo-hoo!” Desi cheered. “We made it.” Eyes wild, she shook me out of my wondering.“C’mon, girlie!The island’s waitin’ for us!”
I adore Miriam Macy, the main character. Some would say she’s ‘unlikeable’ but is that because she suffers no fools, because she’s pissed at her station in life? She’s been replaced and debased and sure, she’s done some bad. I’d forgive her, though. Desi is her opposite--lusty and full of life and in her way, just as 'unlikeable.' She, too, acts out when she's dissatisfied but she's young and cute and can get away with more. She has an optimism that, if she lives long enough, will be diminished by her disappointment. If she lives long enough, she may adopt Miriam's cynicism and reluctant optimism. See, we're all waiting for something magical to happen -- and when it doesn't (or can't), we act out because we've put so much into the dream. Marriage, jobs, kids... I see a lot of women in Miriam, women who are forced to atone for being their authentic selves. Women who are told that they are ‘too much,’ but like these women, Miriam is a fighter even until the end. She still has hope that something will shake her way.

Page 69 encapsulates They All Fall Down. The six other guests, 'unlikable' in their own ways, have all come to the island for fulfillment -- either to start over, to make money, to not think about life at home. Each are optimistic that something magical will happen. No one thinks they're bad--every villain is a hero in her story--until they are confronted with their sin... and that realization may come too late. I've said this before and I think we can all agree: As much as America likes underdogs, we also like seeing bad people get their just deserts. Scary thing is: sometimes, we are those bad people.
Visit Rachel Howzell Hall's website.

--Marshal Zeringue