Sunday, September 1, 2013
The One Good Thing
I started reading The One Good Thing, by Kevin Alan Milne, on Saturday. On Sunday, I had planned to watch a movie while my partner was at work, but instead I had to finish the book. From the beginning the tension about keeping secrets is immediately planted and exploited (in a good way) throughout the work.
When Nathan Steen is killed in a freak auto accident, his family must cope not only with his death but also with a secret he harbored from them. Known as a pillar of the community, a memorial Facebook page fills up with eulogies and witness to his good deeds throughout his life. His wife and children are further hurt when they find out his parents knew about the secret and never mentioned it. Even they don't know the full story of Nathan's 'one good thing.'
Anyone and everyone can relate to the characters in this book. Themes of bullying, peer pressure, marital relationships, adult parent-child relationships all unfold as we learn about the secret Nathan harbored since he was a teenager.
For Writers: As a writer myself, I have to mention what I learned by reading this book.
1. POV - KAM uses five different characters' first person points of view to explain the story. What I like is that each character uses each of their limited POV explain and drive the plot. That is so realistic. We all make judgements based on what we see and hear about a situation and sometimes it takes a lot of persuading to get them to think otherwise.
2. Tension/Reveal of secret - I loved how parts of the secret were revealed early on. For me, it made me want to finish the book quickly to confirm my suspicions. I've tried to do this in some of my own work, so it made me feel good that a successful author like KAM used this technique as well.