Saturday, August 22, 2009

Allison Burnett's "Undiscovered Gyrl"

Allison Burnett is a screenwriter, journalist, poet, director, and novelist and short story writer.

His novels include Christopher: A Tale of Seduction, a finalist for the 2004 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction, and The House Beautiful: A Novel of High Ideals, Low Morals, and Lower Rent.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new novel, Undiscovered Gyrl, and reported the following:
I think both page 69 and page 99 of Undiscovered Gyrl are vivid proof of Ford Madox Ford’s maxim, but I have selected page 99 to discuss. Here our teenage blogger protagonist, Katie Kampenfelt, is brutally frank in her depiction of sex’s aftermath, as well as realistically proud of her own assets (pun intended.) We learn that she is reckless when it comes to birth control, and liberal when it comes to statutory rape. We learn also that her lover reminds Katie of an angry parent, and that Katie is the sort of girl who smuggles beer into her school locker. And yet we must admire that at her tender age Katie is intuitive enough to know what is coming and canny enough to dissemble at a moment’s notice. What makes the book a page turner, for those who describe it as such, is the character of Katie. They simply cannot get enough of her -- even when they want to strangle her. In this page we are given a generous helping of some of her most beguiling and most maddening qualities.

We laid there kissing and breathing until I felt some dribbling and excused myself. I walked slowly to the bathroom because I didn’t want to leak on the floor and because I wanted him to get a good look at my ass. I read once in one of my mom’s Cosmo magazines that a good trick is to hold an open hand across your ass like a fan and sort of skip all the way to the john, so the guy won’t see your cellulite.. Since I don’t have any I walked slowly with no hand.

When I came out of the bathroom Dan had his jeans back on and looked really freaked out.

“I wish that hadn’t happened,” he said.

“You mean no condom? Don’t worry. My period ended this morning.”

“No, I meant--

“Oh, you mean jail? Don’t worry. I turn 18 in a few hours. I’m basically legal.”

“Sit down, Katie..”

I hated the serious look on his face. It was the kind your mom gives you when she got a call from the principal’s office about the beer they found in your locker. It was not the look you want from a person five minutes after you make love for the first time.

“Here’s the thing. I like you, Katie. A lot but--

I knew what he was about to say. My heart stopped. But I pretended to be really calm.

“Listen, before you dump me, let me just say something,
Read an excerpt from the novel, and visit the Undiscovered Gyrl website and Allison Burnett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue