Monday, August 15, 2022

"Mother of All Secrets"

Kathleen M. Willett grew up in New Jersey and London. She has a B.A. in English from Holy Cross and a M.A. in English Education from Columbia University. She taught English at the Beacon School in New York City for ten years. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, two young daughters, and a cat named Mr. Sparkles. She loves running, reading, and watching Office reruns.

Willett applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Mother of All Secrets, and reported the following:
From page 69:
"Wait, one more question. Her husband-- you know, he didn't even know she was in a new moms' group." I realized it wasn't a question at all after the words had finished tumbling out.


"Don't you think that's kind of. . . inconsiderate? Neglectful? A red flag?"

Sherer stepped in. "With respect, I have no idea what my wife does all day, and I'm pretty sure she prefers it that way," he said, again sounding like this was a line he delivered often and that never failed to please him with its cleverness.
On page 69, Jenn is being questioned by the police about Isabel's disappearance, because they are under the impression that she may have been the last person to see Isabel. To be honest, it's kind of a plotty scene, so it's not all that revealing about any of the main characters. However, I think this page highlights Jenn's obsession with Isabel's disappearance starting to take shape-- even though she doesn't know Isabel all that well, she feels she knows her because their time together has been intense and meaningful to Jenn. She has a lot of empathy for Isabel, and, as hard as Jenn is finding it being a new mom herself, she knows that Isabel wouldn't have just left without her baby. Jenn knows she has a bad feeling about Isabel's husband, but she isn't really able to articulate why or what it means. But she knows it's something. Lastly, the comment the cop makes about his wife also gets at some of the spousal resentment for weaponized incompetence that's touched upon by the women in the moms' group. He's being condescending and dismissive and playing into Jenn's insecurity.
Visit Kathleen M. Willett's website.

Q&A with Kathleen M. Willett.

--Marshal Zeringue