Sunday, May 10, 2020

"A Mother's Lie"

Sarah Zettel is an award-winning author. She has written more than thirty novels and multiple short stories over the past twenty-five years, in addition to hiking, cooking, stitching all the things, marrying a rocket scientist, and raising a rapidly growing son.

Zettel applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, A Mother's Lie, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Then there was the sitting there with her jeans and panties around her ankles and staring at the stupid stick while the stupid little plus sign formed in the stupid little window.

Beth remembered getting dressed, and looking at the stick again. Yes, it was still a plus sign. She flushed, and went out into her bedroom. She sat on the edge of her bed.

The sun had broken through San Fransisco’s semi-permanent cloud cover, and a beam fell on the ends of her toes. They were a mess of cracked red enamel. Doug, for reasons known only to himself, had decided he wanted to try painting her toenails, and she hadn’t been able to hold still because he’d kept tickling her.

She looked around her apartment. She looked at her messed up toes and at the sky outside her window. She exhaled.

“Okay,” she said to the empty bedroom and the new clump of cells busily dividing inside her. “Okay, I guess we’re doing this.”

Why that choice and that time? She didn’t know. There had been a couple of other times when she’d made different decisions. She’d even looked into getting her tubes tied. She did spend a couple of nights bawling through the kind of panic attack she’d thought she’d put behind her, but she never seriously tried to change her mind.

She called Doug, and she told him, and he listened and said it was a lot to process and could he call back tomorrow? She told him yes, because she figured that would be the most pain-free option.

She was right.

Three days later, she still hadn’t heard back, so she called again. She got his voice mail. She checked her…
Is this page a good example of what’s in the book? Not really. The book is domestic suspense, with an emphasis on the action, and the interaction between members of Beth’s family. What this page does, however, is vital to establishing Beth’s character, and how she came to motherhood. It is also vital to helping cement the reader’s understanding of the character of the father of her child, who does play an important role in upcoming events.

For Beth, although she does not fully realize it at the time, the decision to go forward with having a baby is a decision to more fully trust herself. She has built a life for herself. That life is sound enough and stable enough that she can bring a new person into to it. Here, Beth not only accepts that this new person, and her life, will grow and change together, in ways she cannot currently predict, she embraces it. Doug, the father, cannot accept that reality, and so he runs from it.
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--Marshal Zeringue