Thursday, June 17, 2010

There Are Only 3 Stories In The World

I once read or heard that there are only three stories in the world, and every novel uses at least one of them. Those three stories are:
  • Road Trip
  • Stranger In Town
  • Boy Meets Girl (obviously, whoever came up with that one was WAY off and it's actually Girl Meets Girl)
Clearly.

Well, let's think about that. I shall once again refer to my handy-dandy list o' Top 10 Favorite Books (see previous post below):
  • Jane Eyre? Definitely a road trip, Jane herself is the Stranger In Town and she does meet a boy. (Has anyone ever referred to Mr. Rochester as a "boy"? Probably not even his own fictional mother.)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird? No road trip - pretty much all the action takes place in Maycomb... I'm not sure Dill counts as Scout meeting a boy... much less Boo Radley! No stranger in town, either. I won't try to get all esoteric and say that RACISM is the Stranger In Town, because obviously it's no stranger to that town - it's just that Scout hasn't realized it before the trial. This one appears to be the exception to the rule and with a Pulitzer to boot! Go, Harper Lee.
  • How about Fingersmith? Road trip - check. Stranger in town - check. Girl meets girl - check. Incredibly awesome plot twists that make me LOVE this book - check. If you haven't read it, please do.

So let me apply this Only 3 Stories test to SHADOW POINT. (you knew I'd get there sooner or later) Road trip? Most definitely, from Boston to San Diego to Shadow Point. Stranger in town? You betcha and her name is Madison McPeake! Girl meets girl - absolutely.

I'm not sure if the Only 3 Stories theory holds water, but it's intriguing. Try it out on the next book you read and see if it applies.

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