Tuesday, May 4, 2021

"The Summer of Lost and Found"

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 books, including her new novel, The Summer of Lost and Found.

More than 7.5 million copies of her books have been published worldwide, and she’s earned numerous accolades and awards, including induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame.

Monroe applied the Page 69 Test to The Summer of Lost and Found, and reported the following:
On page 69 the 6-year-old girl, Hope, discovers a paper airplane in a notch in a back yard tree. It was sent to her --along with a small tin box filled with candy. She is mesmerized by the mysterious man in the carriage house who is quarantined and cannot come out. Unfolding the airplane, she finds a poem by A.A. Milne and hands it to her aunt Linnea to read it to her.

I’m amazed; this is a scene that points to a major theme and symbol in the novel. Though it doesn’t give a sense of the major characters in the novel, I’d say the test works.

The novel takes place in the summer of 2020, a time when we all were sheltering in place. Through the ups and downs of the turbulent year of the pandemic, we discovered the amazing wonders in our own back yard. This scene reveals this as a child discovers the wonder of a surprise hidden in a tree, à la Boo Radley. The paper airplanes are also a major symbol in the novel pointing to serendipity and the whims of fate and are at the head of every chapter. The paper airplanes are also the way the two lovers first communicate during shutdown. I don’t know if the reader would have caught all that from one page, but definitely all the major pointers were on page 69! There was even a line at the top bringing up an older character’s struggle with Alzheimer's! That’s a lot of information on one single page!
Visit Mary Alice Monroe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue