Ever read a book and think it’s going someplace awesome, and it turns out you’re wrong?
This happens to me a lot, but happened in a particularly offbeat way with Edith M. Hemingway’s new book ROAD TO TATER HILL. To be clear, I actually liked this book quite a lot, so it’s not like I was super disappointed with how it turned out. Actually, I’d definitely recommend this middle-grade novel, set in 1960s North Carolina, about a girl whose baby sister has just died and whose unusual means of healing bring her close to the town outcast.
Here’s what happened when I was reading it, though. We learn of all these rumors that the outcast has just gotten out of prison after serving a 30-year murder sentence, which our protagonist Annie refuses to believe, so we know it’s definitely true. We hear said outcast talk, comparing her situation to Annie’s, about having held her baby son all night before he died. And then we discover the only item of note hidden away in her dilapidated shack… her loom.
And maybe it’s only because I read Elizabeth Bunce’s A CURSE DARK AS GOLD last December, or more likely just because I have no associations with looms except those involving either Rumpelstiltskin or early labor battles, but my first thought was: Oh my god, it’s Rumplestiltskin. And how awesome would that be? …A Rumpelstiltskin aftermath book where the baby is taken and the mom gets blamed? Okay, now that I’m writing it down, I can see that it’s slightly crazy. But I was utterly convinced that this is where Hemingway’s story was going, until a few pages later when we got a hint that what had happened was the more predictable backstory that I’m sure everyone reading this can guess even if they haven’t read the book.
So this imaginary novel is such a completely different book than what ROAD TO TATER HILL actually is that it seems unfair to even compare them. Nonetheless, should someone ever write it, it’s a story I’d love to read.
Anyone got a particularly good tale of making a wrong prediction like this? Anyone know of books whose story was generated this way?