12.21.2006

HH Com 288 (287)

Mora Jackson's life revolves around...well, Mora Jackson. Now retired and widowed, her new hobbies include going to doctors for complications due to her diabetes and scolding her oldest daughter Janie for divorcing that nice lawyer. So what if he was working overtime every night with that nice looking paralegal. She wore suits, while Mora couldn't remember the last time Janie wasn't wearing an oversized warm up suit. There had to be some occasion to get a gym teacher to dress up.

Janie wasn't Mora's favorite daughter. That honor was reserved for her youngest, Lisa, who was married to a software company executive. Lisa had children, a nice home and a new Hummer. Mora pointed that out to Janie. What else can a mother do? Mora tried to help, she took Janie shopping, hoping a nice purse will inspire the poor girl to get her life together. Nothing helps sad feelings like a new purse. They always fit, no matter what was for lunch.

But all Janie wanted to talk about was Mora's blood sugar levels. Mora tried to explain that when she felt low, the Dr. Pepper gave her new life and energy, but Janie would only blather on about proteins and balance. Mora had lived long enough, and, Lord knows, suffered enough that she should be able to eat any damn thing she wanted.

Who knew she'd end up dying of kidney failure, leaving behind fifty-six purses?

this is funny but...that's it?
I'm hoping this isn't the entire novel cause you're missing some key ingredients.

15 comments:

skybluepinkrose said...

I was interested enough to read the whole thing. But Mora doesn't have a conflict. She's perfectly pleased with herself. Deploring her older daughter's lifestyle isn't enough. Besides, M ends up dead. Is Jane the true MC? I'd be more interested in whether she considers herself better or worse off since her divorce, and what she and her sister plan to do with the 56 purses. Do they have money in them?

Anonymous said...

I think this has potential--it is funny and well written--but like Miss Snark said, not sure it is a novel or what exactly it is about. I like the mother and daughter dynamic but there needs to be a story--something needs to happen. This is not shown.

Anonymous said...

I love the fifty-six purses line. I don't want to say anything that goes against what MS may thing, she's the agent, but the writing and the feel of this is so neat, I think it works. I don't know that a discovery of the saddness of someone's life by a loved one and a striving to avoid the sam fate isn't enough of a plot. If it's well written enough, I think it could be.

December Quinn said...

I agree with anon 1. I like the character and think it's funny, but what's the book really about? And what happens in the book? Because no matter how good or catchy the writing and voice are, I don't want to read a whole book where an old lady goes to the doctor and bugs her daughter on every page, and that's it.

That's not criticism, it's advice. This was cute and I enjoyed reading it.

Bernita said...

Short story, maybe?

Wabi Sabi said...

This has a freshness about it. it's one of the few I've read all the way through today. At the moment it seems more short story material than novel.

Inkwolf said...

I was enjoying this, but it feels like the second half got lost. Does Jane find something mysterious in one of the purses that sends her on some sort of quest? This could be a great start to a mystery or adventure book.

John Anthony Sperling said...

I know it's very cantankerous of me to mention, and nobody else seems to find it jarring, but these hooks would be so much smoother if the writers would commit to either present or past tense, instead of switching back and forth.

Hypergraphia said...

I love the idea of this book, and I am pretty familiar with your writing style and your acerbic wit. So we ain't good hookers? What else is new? What humored me most when you were just telling me about the story was what was found "IN" the purses and I realize the difficulty of outlining most of the funniest parts of the book in the hook. The title is too good to not share as well - LOL! You are a fabulous story teller and you know I'm ready to read your drafts anytime!!! I need some good holiday material to keep me entertained and busy!

Virginia Miss said...

I was sorry that Mora dies, she's funny in the way self-centered people often are. But the kidney failure death threw me, it didn't seem to fit. Is this a black comedy?

The characters and writing are strong, but we need a struggle to pin our hopes on, in order for this to work.

Anonymous said...

these hooks would be so much smoother if the writers would commit to either present or past tense

I also find this jarring, especially when the shifts take place in the same sentence: "Mora tried to help, she took Janie shopping, hoping a nice purse will inspire the poor girl to get her life together."

Not to mention that the above is a run-on sentence...

I think the characters are a lot of fun but I can't imagine an agent taking on an author who doesn't understand basic grammar.

dana p said...

Love that first sentence.

aries said...

This hook shows a lot of promise but like MS said, is that it? Despite the fact it feels like something is missing, I would love to read more.

Hoyt Peterson said...

I thought this story was excellent. It reminded me of my grandma who loved purses. Problem is, the older a women gets the bigger the purse becomes. It took my mom and her sister a couple of days to go through all the purses. She stuck money inside them, saving it for a rainy day I suppose, but the rainy day never came. I was told she had enough money stashed around the house to pay for her funeral in cash. Wow, at least 24k.

HawkOwl said...

I'd look at it. Not everything needs an antagonist.