“‘Work hard, fly right, good will out,’ Sally said. ‘That’s my suggestion for the day.’”
Perhaps you, or someone you know, has taken a creative-writing class, or a screenwriting class, or perhaps you have seen a number of contemporary movies. If this is the case, you will be familiar with the moral dilemma / writing prompt that begins with the discovery of a suitcase full of money. Money, naturally, changes everything, and people reveal their true moral fiber when they’re faced with astronomical sums, right? Well, Sylvan Street clearly followed directly from that prompt — to the point where the suitcase full of money is discovered, with very little to set the scene, in a suburban poolhouse in chapter two. And, to be entirely honest, any psychological insights or adrenal thrills the book might hold have that opening to overcome, in addition to sparking a willing suspension of disbelief — because the musty, old writing prompt isn’t tarted up, transformed, winked at, or disguised, but is just plopped down there, still smelling like the second week of an MFA program.