Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Alpine Vengeance by Mary Daheim

My teenage daughter is pregnunt by a married man who used to be my husband but isn't her father (far as I know) and she wants to keep the baby, but I got four other kids (besides her) so we'll be too crowded with only two bedrooms and one bathroom (outside) and the roof leeks' - that's L-E-E-K-S.

Those aren't typos, so either this author can't write and spell, or more likely, this narrator can't, as it's hard to get a good education in a trailer park.

So this long sentence reveals character and conflict and setting all in one go. The situation is a little unusual, though perhaps in some places (where the fish bite) it isn't so unusual for a guy to hook up with his stepdaughter. The only negative thing I have to say about this sentence is that it is long, but it's a good long because the length is part of what gives it its charm. It's a run-on sentence written by a character who has a lot to get off her chest and a reader can't help but smile.

It continues with the narrator suggesting that the daughter get a job because the narrator's boyfriend was layed off and Mama can't help because she has something called emfasima, and Dad left years ago with the narrator's second husband. It's an amusing life story all on one page. Yes, it's back story, but it does more than act as an info dump - it entertains, presents conflicts and reveals character. Most importantly, it's brief.

However, I'm thinking is this person who can't spell or write correct sentences going to be narrating this entire novel? Because if so, I don't think I want to read it. I have enough problems writing my masterpieces without reading a book narrated by an illiterate character. I'm young and impressionable - it might rub off.

Nevertheless the opening sentence hooks despite its obvious drawbacks.

First thing said:


And then:

"Why did I ever thin it was a good idea to write an advice column?"

Verdict: Pass (definite)

Theodore Moracht

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