Friday, 22 November 2013

Gone with the Win by Mary Daheim

Judith McMonigle Flynn pulled her aging Subaru into the driveway, smiled at the sight of her husband's classic MG, and glanced up at the squirrel on the garage roof.

So we get two cars and a squirrel in this line. Then the paragraph proceeds with said character talking to said squirrel, explaining some back story to the squirrel. Of course the squirrel couldn't care less. I don't either, and so now I have a renewed admiration for squirrels. This opening sounds insane, in an Insidious kind of way, but it's not, not really. It's just the writer trying to hide a back story dump and introduce a premise using dialogue between a character and a squirrel. In a way, it should be clever.

First thing said (to the squirrel):

"Ha ha, you can't get me."

The ridiculous diatribe to the squirrel continues:

No scampering around inside the walls, no taunting the resident cat, no digging up my flower beds will faze me. I'm a liberated B&B innkeeper, free of outside interferences. I'm focusing on my family and my livelihood. And no more sleuthing for me! The only dead body I'm interested in will be yours if you steal any more of my tulip bulbs. Take that, my furry little friend!

The squirrel, if it's paying attention, is thinking: what's this lady on?

The dialogue doesn't get much better. It sounds forced, like how comatose evangelists speak when they're eyes are tired and they can read the teleprompter properly. Lots of dialogue of one or two word sentences on page 2 and 3:

Hold it!
I'm Blind!

There's even a couple without exclamation marks for those who can infer emotion without punctuation.

I never...

I kind of want to give this a pass because of the death threats to the squirrel, but the punned title seals the deal.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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