Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Wifey by Judy Blume

Sandy sat up in bed and looked at the clock.

Because our day always begins in bed, some might think it's logical to begin a novel there. It really depends. Is there conflict in bed? If there were bedbugs or a dead body or dirty sheets then perhaps. Although, waking up is a problem for some people.

Quarter to eight. Damn!

However, in this case, the character is getting up too early and can stay in bed if she wants to but can't be bothered. Most readers know characters wake up every morning, so is there really any need to show it?

Then, suddenly, begins paragraph two. Sandy looks out the window to see a streaker on the lawn, standing beside a motorcycle, wearing nothing but a helmet and a bed sheet, who, in an act of excitement, engages in an obscene act of self-abuse for 27 seconds until said abuse reaches its climax. It's not often one reads of a climatic moment on page one of a novel.

At this point, I'm grateful for the first paragraph, as it accentuates the streaker scene, making it all the more bizarre, as it is, after all, 8 in the morning. Plus, the second paragraph's scene needs a plain paragraph to precede it, to lull the reader into a false sense of security, making the exhibitionist pervert all the more jarring, as if introducing a pervert so early in the book is as bad as seeing one so early in the morning.

First thing said:

“Did it make ridges in the lawn?”

The opening line is nothing to write about, but as it's part of the master plan of the opening scene, it can be forgiven - and forgotten for the greater good.

Verdict: Pass (3.5 stars) 

Theodore Moracht

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