Monday, August 1, 2011

first impressions - Surviving Derek, Maybe

Here it is August 1st already and I'm wishing summer would slow down just a little. Don't you? Anyway, today we have our first of four submission (yes four! Isn't that exciting?), Surviving Derek, Maybe, a YA novel by Jessica Buccina. My comments are in purple. Dianne's comments can be found here.
            My former roommate Derek Shipley hung himself in the basement of his parent’s house last December, while he was home for Christmas. He used a bungee cord tied to an extension cord. At least that’s what I heard, anyhow. Would a bungee cord work? Or would it just bounce and stretch? Just asking.
Tis the season and all that. love the attitude/voice.
There was this long memorial by the train tracks that ran through Haslett property where people lit candles and talked about Derek.  It’s funny how people only say good things about someone after they’re dead. (oh, so true) Like death makes you flawless or something. Because not one person stood up and said Derek Shipley stole ten bucks from my gym locker or Derek Shipley was an idiot who couldn’t pass Intermediate Algebra. He was dead, so it was like all of those things were absolved. Counselors with furrowed eyebrows hung around near the dorms all the time, in case anyone else dropped dead or had a break down. Things went haywire. We were supposed to talk more, but everyone talked less. And we all had to turn in our shoelaces. Is this prison? Camp? Juvy? Boarding school? I'm asking cuz I'm wondering why everyone has to turn in their shoelaces. 
The following week, it was back to business as usual and everyone who could just kind of forgot Derek Shipley ever existed at all. Like a selfish prick, I wondered if people would light candles and forget me if I hung myself in my basement. I wondered if I’d be perfect then, too. It’s probably unfortunate for my conscience (I'm not sure what this means but it might read better like this: It's probably fortunate I'm not suicidal, though I probably should be.) that I’m not suicidal, I probably should be. Derek is dead and absolved and I’m here, trying to live in this mess and trying to survive.

wow. I honestly having nothing else to say, besides that this is good and I love the voice of the narrator. He/she (not sure which but I'm guessing it doesn't matter just yet) sounds like a real person, a person I might have known, back in the day. Nicely done!


  1. I liked this too!! I like the dead(no pun intended)pan voice. It's so true about being automatically absolved of all wrong doing in eulogies once the person is dead.

    Well this prologue certainly got my attention! Yay!! I like the critique too - I can see about the "unfortunate for my conscience" too. Thanks for sharing! Take care

  2. pulled me in right away and I loved the voice. Good stuff!

  3. No female in my age group would ever call herself a "prick", so I'm assuming the voice is male. (Plus, the dead Derek was the speaker's roommate.) And a terrific voice it is, too. It comes across as very authentic. I love this start and the tone it sets. Great title, too.

  4. Now that's what I call a fantastic first sentence! Pulled me right in. Authentic, consistent voice. I would totally read this.

  5. Agree this is a male voice. And was pulled into the story instantly, completely- "tis the season" indeed!


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