Saturday, March 7, 2020

"Oona Out of Order"

After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Margarita Montimore worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. She's blogged for Marvel, Google, Quirk Books, and When not writing, she freelances as a book coach and editor. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog.

Montimore applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Oona Out of Order, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“... Like I said, social media is complicated.”

“And cluttered. There’s so much white noise and distraction. The girl next to me didn’t even watch the show—she spent the whole time texting. I get why people are so obsessed with their phones...” Turning hers over in her hands, it seemed inconceivable something so small offered endless information and convenience. “I just wonder if it’s making us a little lazy and rude. How much real life do people miss out on because they’re focused on a screen? How much have I missed out on?” She put her phone away.
The titular character of Oona Out of Order goes from being eighteen in 1982 to fifty-one in 2015, only to learn that every year she will “leap” to another age at random. She spends the rest of the novel coping with what she refers to as her “time sickness.”

On page 69, Oona is in the midst of her first leap, which is fraught with upheaval. She must contend with instantly aging three decades and losing the life she had at eighteen. On top of that, she is also adjusting to the modern world and technological advancements, catching up on the lost decades via the Internet. This exchange takes place after she attends a concert during which much of the audience has their phones out. Oona’s initial frustration here is aimed at the people who are glued to their screens, which distracts her from the show. But on the ride home, as she admonishes them, it dawns on her that she’s been hiding behind her computer screen as a means to cope with her situation. And while she’s still mourning everything she’s lost, Oona is also realizing that she needs to stop taking the positive aspects of her life for granted. This touches on the central story themes of living in the moment and learning to accept each phase of life, overcoming its obstacles while appreciating its advantages.
Visit Margarita Montimore's website.

--Marshal Zeringue