On Tuesday I was treated to a presentation of The Fourth Wall by a group of 7th graders who chose the book for their quarterly language arts project.
That goes straight to the top of the list of amazing and utterly surreal moments in this author’s writing life, right up there with seeing my debut novel on bookshelves.
The kids were assigned individual and group projects; for the group project they decided to put on a talk show. One child was the talk show host, and in a series of interviews with “Marin,” “Frankie,” and “Tom,” he probed the characters with questions about each other that revealed individual strengths and weaknesses and gave insight into the plot.
Because the interviews were conducted before and after the novel’s resolution—separated by an amusing intermission—the audience could see how the characters changed and grew.
It was brilliant. The kids gave nothing away, focusing solely on the real-world aspects of the novel and leaving out the magical realism—which makes sense, as only one of these characters experiences it, and we all know Marin likes her secrets.
But Marin’s dream world is of course a vital part of the story, and the students represented this perfectly. They created a backdrop—a painting of the forest in Marin’s dreams—and displayed it on the wall behind our talk show host and his guests. So it is there all along—framing everything—yet none of the characters can see it.
Before staging the talk show, these 7th graders gave a brief overview of The Fourth Wall for the audience, including the title, tone, and theme. Their take on the theme? Letting go of the past so you can move forward.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
A huge, heart-felt “Thank you” to Lisa Jones, 6th/7th grade Aspire Language Arts teacher at Connolly Middle School in Tempe, Arizona, and to her wonderful students, for reading my book and inviting me to watch Tuesday’s performance.
Also…thanks to everyone who came out to the Tucson Festival of Books! And a big welcome to my new subscribers. This was my first time participating in a book festival, and it was a blast. We sold a few books, handed out tons of bookmarks, and discovered organic cotton candy.
Really, that’s a thing.
Here are some pictures, and congrats to R.C. who won the giveaway for my husband’s hand-crafted feather earrings!