Monday, November 13, 2023

"Anything for a Friend"

Kathleen Willett has a B.A. in English from Holy Cross and a M.A. in English Education from Columbia University. An English teacher who grew up in New Jersey and London, Kathleen lives in Manhattan with her husband, two daughters, and a cat named Mr. Sparkles.

Willett applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Anything for a Friend, and reported the following:
On page 69, Maya and Carrie (former best friends with a fraught past, reunited after twenty years) are talking in Carrie's kitchen while Carrie cooks. Maya ruminates pensively on a memory from her daughter Lola's childhood-- specifically, about how she never watched the Care Bears show. It seems like she's experiencing some emotional pain as she shares this memory, and it's a situation where her reaction feels stronger than the seemingly light content of the conversation. Then, Carrie goes outside to her herb garden on the deck to pull some herbs for omelets-- and finds that the herb garden has been destroyed.

Ooh, page 69 is a juicy one! As soon as I saw what was on this page, I got excited. So yes, I do think that the test worked-- I think if a reader opened to page 69, they would get a good taste of the content of the whole book. It hints that Maya may be hiding something, as she recalls this aspect of her daughter's childhood, trance-like, and a look of unexplained pain crosses her face. It shows the tension and rivalry between Maya and Carrie, as the reason that Carrie is making omelets in the kitchen is to try to regain some footing over Maya, after Maya cooked an amazing dinner the night before. And it also contains a creepy, ominous plot event-- the herb garden being mysteriously destroyed, by who or why not yet known. I think this scene really speaks to the mood of the book, where the reader knows something isn't right but can't place their finger on what-- not yet, at least!
Visit Kathleen M. Willett's website.

Q&A with Kathleen M. Willett.

The Page 69 Test: Mother of All Secrets.

My Book, The Movie: Mother of All Secrets.

My Book, The Movie: Anything for a Friend.

--Marshal Zeringue