Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana L. Flegal

Hi Ya'll!
Thank you for taking time from your summer schedule to drop in and read today's First Page.

Middle Grade – Historical Fiction
            I could’ve finished raising Gracie and Jack myself – if I’d been given the chance. Mama always said I was the responsible one of the family, looking out after her and the babies when Pop up and died on us. It was Pop who said men had no business raising babies; said it was woman’s work. But Pop didn’t know Mama would die so soon and leave us orphaned. I might have been only twelve but I was the oldest son and reckoned it was my duty to take up where Mama left off.
            My plans changed though when old widow woman McGuire, with her thick rimmed glasses and teeth that bounced when she talked, stuck her nose all up in our business. She alerted authorities we were three kids alone. Sheriff said he had no choice but to notify our next of kin after she squealed on us like she did. I tried hard – and for a mighty long time – not to hate her for that.
Our next of kin was Grandma of course, or Gam as we’d always called her. Once she knew, I figured she’d be blowing in on the next stiff wind, leastwise a short time after we laid Mama down. Sure enough I was right.
She hadn’t been around us younguns in a heap of moons. Matter of fact, she hadn’t seen Gracie, who was nine, in six years and never had laid eyes on Jack. So none of us were quite sure what to expect out of Gam. Most I remembered about her was things I’d heard Mama and Pop saying late at night after we were in bed. Best I could recall, most of it wasn’t too good. Gracie I’m sure, remembered less than I did about her. 

Please let us know if you would read on. We appreciate your comments :-) Stay Cool and enjoy summer. It seems as fast as the 4th of July goes by it just ZOOMS!


Timothy Fish said...

I think I would, but some action needs to take place soon or the author will lose me. The one thing I noticed is that the voice uses a lot of oldisms. It would improve the piece if those were toned down a hair.

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

I like the voice. I don't know if a middle reader would enjoy it as much as I do, because it's very atmospheric, and from what I know of kids, they prefer action. Still, as an adult, I'd read on. I want to find out how Gam treats them and what happens next!

Lynn Donovan said...

Yes, I would read on!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I love the voice! Yes I do. So I would read on.

Davalyn Spencer said...

I would read on, but I recommend moving this section down and starting with current action rather than a retrospection. Not sure middle graders would latch on to "thoughts."

sally apokedak said...

I would read on for sure. I love this start. There is a character I can love--an orphan who wants to take care of his siblings, and who struggles with forgiving the butinsky who turned him in. There is conflict--Gam is coming and she's not going to be easy to deal with. And there is a voice--the boy describes the old woman as having teeth that bounce when she talks.

I suggest the writer read THE MOSTLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF HOMER P. FIGG, and THE CHARLATAN'S BOY to steep him/herself in voice and character, because that would make her character's voice even stronger.

I loved this and I'm itching to critique it--there were a couple of minor things I saw.

I read a lot of MG books and I think this is a great voice for MG.

Caroline said...

I agree w/most of the opins above. I'd read on too, but also wonder about starting w/action. Kids attention span, and all that from today. :)

Kathryn Elliott said...

I do not typically read MG, but my twelve year old niece is reading over my shoulder right now and informs me this sounds “kind of cool.” High praise. :-)

Anonymous said...

I would definitely read on. I have always enjoyed MG and this one has a good start. There's "someting on the hook". :)
Hope you had a wonderful birthday. I like the picture of your little Molly and you.

PS I am not a robot!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I'd definitely keep reading. The author had me at "My plans changed though when old widow woman McGuire, with her thick rimmed glasses and teeth that bounced when she talked, stuck her nose all up in our business." Love that line.

I thought the voice was great. It really drew me in. I also think the character has something he wants--to be responsible and care for his sisters the way his mama would want him to. In some ways it seems like he's already lost out, but I get a sense that this kid is a fighter.

There's the added tension that Gam might or might not be a help.

I think the parts are all there for a wonderful story with a delightful character.


Anonymous said...

I really do love the voice and I love the writing. I know I would turn the page, but it still feels as if something is missing.I'm going to tentatively agree with that there needs to be some kind of action happening. Maybe your Main Character and his siblings can be packing up something while waiting on Gam?

I'm also wondering, what is your main character's name?