I’m writing Moose right now, and it seems my biggest challenge is how to handle voice. It’s a story about my adolescence, taking place when I was twelve. It’s clear that I’m reflecting on this past as a grown woman now, but I don’t want to get too much into my preachy, snappy, sometimes funny, adult voice because it takes the reader out of the moment. There’s an intimacy when you read it, making you feel exactly how I did then. In the telling, it’s as if you’re beside Stephanie age 12. And when it’s told that way, through those eyes, what I lived and felt then, it’s so much more present, there, in the moment. And when I jump to this adult voice, adding in a sense of reason and perspective you cannot have at twelve, it feels… wrong.
I know people liked Straight Up and Dirty for the boldness and humor. For the honesty. It’s a funny book. Moose is different. I don’t want to tell it in quips and witty puns. Because that’s not what adolescence is. It’s awkward and tender, vulnerable and angry. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s messy and clumsy, and a part of me feels disloyal to the age, to how it really was, when I get clever. I don’t want the book to get preachy or "lessony," or to end on some triumphant note. I don’t want to illustrate some big epiphany. It’s not a book about eating disorders, or loving yourself at any size, finding peace and loving you just as you are. It’s a book about adolescence, and it takes place at camp, and it just so happens to deal with weight as the issue that plagued me. I just wanted to share what it’s like, the thought that goes into the telling of a story, a coming of age book where despite our best intentions, everything goes horribly wrong. Which in the end, isn’t the worst thing in the world.