Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wendy Walker's "Social Lives"

Wendy Walker is a former commercial litigator and investment banker who now works at home in Connecticut writing and raising her children. She is the author of Four Wives, the editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms, and is currently working on her third novel.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her second novel, Social Lives, and reported the following:
The page begins with a not-so-nice word, then goes on to describe a confused, angst-ridden teenage girl wondering about a boy in a car. The girl, protagonist Caitlin Barlow, is obviously obsessed with this boy, Kyle, and desperate for his attention. The page ends with her wondering if she will ever be able to figure him out.

As a matter of style, this page definitely represents the book. In order to move the plot forward but cover a lot of ground, my characters often reflect on things that have happened in the near and distant past, and reveal their state of mind as they confront the present.

As a matter of content, what we are seeing here is one of three main plot lines that intersect and collide throughout the book. Caitlin is the daughter of Rosalyn and billionaire Ernest Barlow, a couple in the midst of marital turmoil. When Caitlin becomes involved in a sexual scandal at her school, their relationship and family is put to the test. Rosalyn is friends with Jacqueline Halstead whose husband has set them on a course of financial ruin. What she does to save her family represents the complete lack of power she feels after two decades of dependency on her husband. Newcomer Sara Livingston is beginning to understand the social structure around her and it makes her terrified to have a second baby that will further entrench her within this world. All of these stories tie into the role of women in wealthy suburbia, from teenage years through adulthood. There is a definite cycle at work. In many ways then, page 99 shows us the beginning of that cycle - the teenage girl who sees herself only through the eyes of men.
Watch the video trailer for Social Lives and read an excerpt.

Learn more about the author and her work at Wendy Walker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue