Friday, December 10, 2021

"The Hawthorne School"

Sylvie Perry is the pseudonym of a Chicagoland-based psychotherapist. One of her professional focuses is in counseling survivors of narcissistic manipulation. She has a Masters in English. She previously wrote in another genre under a different pseudonym.

Perry applied the Page 69 Test to The Hawthorne School, her first psychological suspense novel, and reported the following:
“We had a sermonomy!” shouted Henry as Claudia came into his classroom…. Henry repeated, “A sermonomy. In the woods, we had it.”

These are the first words on page 69 of The Hawthorne School.

A reader, browsing and falling upon this page, would get an inkling of what is going on here. Claudia, the young mother who is so relieved to get little Henry into a school where he can be accepted, is not paying full attention to what should be words of warning, and instead is focused on pleasing the director of the school and Henry’s teacher. On the next page, Claudia looks to the teacher for an explanation for the woodland ceremony--which she is only too happy to accept. She needs to believe that The Hawthorne School will give her and Henry the support they need.

The astute reader will very likely sense that there is a problem here, and may be concerned for this young mother and son as Claudia misses red flags. As in real life, we can see trouble ahead of another; we can see a friend or loved one blindly proceeding on a path that can only lead to a bad end. We can even look back and see that we, ourselves, have at some time missed signs we should have seen—signs that others may even have warned us about.

What is behind that inability to see that one is taking the wrong path? Inexperience? Wishful thinking? Denial? Perhaps all of these, and more besides. People should know better than to fall for scams, believe fake sales pitches, and get ensnared by cults.

Intelligent people are fooled every day.
Visit Sylvie Perry's website.

--Marshal Zeringue