Thursday, August 8, 2013

Opening Lines: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine ScheidtIn

"In the happy times, in the tell-me-again-times, when I'm seven and there are no stepbrothers and it's before the stepfathers, my mom lets me sleep in her bed."

-Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (St. Martin's Griffin, New York. p. 1)

The secret weapon of this opening sentence is the unique “tell-me-again times,” which evokes a child who has discovered something she loves and wants her mom to do it over and over, and a mother who loves her daughter enough to indulge her. The “happy” times in the past and the foreboding future presence of the stepbrothers and stepfathers let us know that the present is not as sunny as the past. Without overtly doing so, Scheidt’s first sentence cuts straight to the core of the main character in prose that promises a pleasurable reading experience.

What stories did you make your mother tell you over and over again?

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