Like what you’ve read? Keep going, especially if you are a literary agent on the prowl for a polished manuscript, literary fiction, 90k words. In fact, let’s save some time. Here’s my query:
In the Shore family photos, Mom, Dad, Lucy and Jenny are apple-cheeked and grinning, arms draped over each other’s shoulders. But Jenny’s journals, kept from age eight to adulthood, tell a darker tale: a boundaryless father and a mother so desperate to hang on to his wandering attention that she sacrifices anyone in her way…including her own daughters.
Now adults, Jenny’s a recently divorced mother of two. Devastated to learn of her ex’s new girlfriend, she wonders whether an affair would cheer her up. Lucy, married and living in suburban utopia, is being devoured by a clandestine eating disorder she knows only as the Wave.
Trying to understand her past, Jenny tiptoes into journal entries from the last two decades. She can’t find her childhood diaries, though, because Lucy’s hiding them. (Lucy’s not going to read them, of course, because that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it?)
Both women are bleeding the toxic family dynamics onto their own teens. As their mistakes compound, the children suffer. But standing up for their kids means standing up for themselves, which neither sister knows how to do.
One woman, though, just might find a way to break free.
I was flat on my back near my living room couch, my bare foot wedged in the middle of a painting. Apparently, you can’t hang a large framed canvas solo, even if you stand on a ladder and prop a mop handle under the other end —especially if you stand on a ladder and expect a mop handle to hold up the other end.
Staring at the ceiling, I extended my arms overhead, as if I was on the floor for a little stretch, then sat up and kicked myself out of the picture. My parents had given me the painting of a Bartlett pear for my thirty-fifth birthday. Mom would have a fit if she saw me now. She’d insist I ruined it on purpose.
I shoved the canvas aside to inspect my foot. No blood? I hauled myself up and stuck the painting, ladder and mop near the back door, limping more than I had to. Then I stood still, taking stock of my new little bungalow.
No two ways about it. The kids and I were moved in. All the cardboard boxes had been unpacked, by me, all the paint colors chosen, by me. The pantry was stocked with cans of black beans and boxes of pasta spirals, bought and shelved, by me. Looking around, I squinted at the dust motes drifting through crappy white plastic venetian blinds, in the late afternoon sunlight. They seemed to be making a beeline for the dark wooden top of my coffee table. I blew a gentle breath toward them, then a harder one, testing how hard I’d have to puff to make the little fuckers drift away from items that would later have to be dusted. By me.
If you’d like to read more–and I’d like you to– gimme a shout.