First Pages: “Maine” and “Summer Rental”

16 07 2011

Today’s first-page challenge: “Maine” by J. Courtney Sullivan and “Summer Rental” by Mary Kay Andrews.

Which first page is groovier? “Maine” by J. Courtney Sullivan.
In “Maine,” I get a better sense of place and character. I’m piqued about Alice and want to find out more about her and her life. Plus, smoking is so taboo now, but here’s this more than 60-year-old woman who smokes. Yeah, the fact she was smoking actually hooked me. (Side note: Nah, I don’t smoke.)  Plus I can identify with the fact she watches life at a distance.

One issue I had with “Summer Rental” was too much scene-setting. Like with the Koontz book, we have rain hitting a car windshield. Try to be more different. I do like the fact the character is willing to act on impulse. The page also leaves me wondering why she needs a new life and what that new life is going to be like.

Vote for the page you prefer.




3 responses

16 07 2011

I agree that the first page of “Maine” is better, but for different reasons. I was drawn in by the reminiscent feel of an older woman packing up her things so her kids don’t have to. Her character seems strong in that she is content with her own mortality. Plus, sitting down in the fresh beach air tends to be relaxing and something to look forward to. “Summer Rental” turned me off because of the idea of running away. Ellis seems like a weak character right off the bat for running to a new life instead of working out the details of her “old” one. I am curious about why she is running and I did like the idea that the “new her” left her home at midnight instead of her usual safety-net driving in daylight. However, I just couldn’t get past the idea of her running away.

17 07 2011
Doris Riley Short

Maine sort of gave me a better sense of what the story is going to be about. However, that does not mean it is actually going to be a better story. Reading only first pages is not a good way for me to decide if I am going to read a book, and also I am not a competent judge of the quality of writing. I depend more on reviews and known authors and recommendations (depending on who is doing the recommendation).

17 07 2011

I agree that you should not necessarily NOT buy a book based on its first page. However, the reality is that many books’ first pages sell them (although a so-so first page does not always sink a book).

It’s always to a book’s benefit to have the best first page possible.

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