Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Keeping Lucy"

T. Greenwood is the author of thirteen novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. Bodies of Water was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award.

Greenwood applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Keeping Lucy, and reported the following:
While Keeping Lucy is a novel about a mother’s fierce and heroic efforts to save her child from the horrific institution to which she was whisked away as a newborn, it is also very much about one woman’s staking claim to her own life.

Keeping Lucy is set in 1971. When we think of the early days of the women’s movement, it is the images of activism that we might conjure: the bra burning, the marches and protests. August 26, 1971 was the first Women’s Equality Day. However, on that day women still could not have a credit card in their name, get a legal abortion, be guaranteed to keep a job if they got pregnant, engage in military combat, or take legal action against sexual harassment. Additionally, in 1971, there was no such thing as spousal rape. These are basic rights denied to women, never mind all the other smaller ways that women were oppressed.

Ginny Richardson is not at the forefront of the movement, by any stretch of the imagination, but through the efforts to protect her daughter, she finds her own voice and autonomy and is able to stand up for not only her daughter for herself against the powerful men who have other plans for her and her daughter.

On page 69 of the novel, Ginny has defied her husband’s wishes and checked her two-year-old daughter out of the “school” where she has lived since birth. The first thought is to take her (along with Ginny’s son) to an amusement park, but she has limited cash in her pocketbook.
Ginny had brought along the cash she kept in the bread box, the weekly allowance Ab doled out, a practice that had initially made her feel strange, but to which she’d gradually grown accustomed if not resigned. When she’d still lived at home with her mother, she’d overseen their finances. She’d done the bills, written checks for all their monthly expenses. She was used to budgeting – if only for the two of them – and accustomed to having her own money. And while Ab was always generous, she could never quite get past the idea that she had to ask him for money simply for the things their family needed. She’d told him once how uncomfortable it made her, and the next day he’d offered to let her determine the amount. “Whatever you need,” he’d said, missing the point entirely.
In writing this novel, it was important to me not to demonize her husband. In many ways, he too falls prey to the patriarchal system. Ginny loves her husband, and I believe that Ab is a good man. They are both struggling against a system which has clear expectations for both men and women.
Visit T. Greenwood's website.

Writers Read: T. Greenwood.

--Marshal Zeringue