Since childhood, I’ve spent part of every summer with my extended family on Cape Cod. We are all related either directly or so distantly we can’t even bother to trace it—and then we just call each other cousin. Every summer, when we go, I have to be ready with my news.
You know the drill: you see your family once a year and they want the latest. To save time, you compile a list of what’s been going on with you. I’m in my second year of college! I just started a job! I’m getting married! And so on. You have to repeat the lines so often, to so many people, that you get it down to a tight paragraph.
When I started The Rest of the Story, I knew I wanted it to be a novel about family and home. The ones we know well, and those we may not know at all. Since her mom’s death, Emma Saylor has spent most of her life with her dad and grandmother. But when she’s sent to the lake to stay with her mother’s family for the first time, an entire other world opens up to her. Right away, she’s asked for her “five sentences,” a lake tradition. In that moment, she thinks: Who am I right now? It’s both exhilarating and terrifying. But she has to answer.
Over the years, I feel like I’ve had a million sentences—always changing depending on where I am in my life. I want to be a writer. Well, I dropped out of college. I fell in love! I’m having a baby. Every sentence is a new chapter. We are all our own story, and only you can tell yours—one paragraph or handful of sentences at a time.
So for now: I’m Sarah. I’m from North Carolina. I have a husband and a great kid. I live with lots of lizards. I’m addicted to Cheez-It Double Cheese snack mix. And I really, really hope you enjoy this book.
What are your five sentences? If we ever meet, remind me to ask you.