Updated: May 20, 2022
Lexie had been standing in the wings (meaning, standing behind the curtain, waiting for her turn onstage) when Random House waffled around wondering if Jake was really a good fit for my other books, which are largely for slightly older readers (in their minds—I read whatever I want to and I’m sure you do too. We all have a vast vocabulary of words we’d have a hard time defining if asked, but have no trouble understanding them when we come across them in a sentence. I mean really—supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? I worry more about spelling it than understanding it.).
So, anyway, they finally said, “If only you had another book for the same age group.” And I said, “I think I do. Give me a couple of weeks to find it.” And I turned to Lexie and said, “Your turn.”
She didn’t disappoint. I opened a blank computer file and thought “Page one,” and she told me everything she’d been waiting to say. I came to realize I was Lexie--partly. Not with a beach house. Just the divorce part, and the waiting part, and in my case it was waiting for the airplane to land. The airplane was always late.
It wasn’t until I got older that I understood my dad had several other important stops along the way to see me, and he made all of them on time, and then missed his plane. So I totally got how Lexie felt about that. Many times I knew something important before my mother did. I understood how that felt, too. Usually this was deliberate, so my dad didn’t have to be the one to make the announcement.
Worse, now that I’m older, I know that sometimes I’ve been an emotional coward too. It’s not a good thing to be. But I felt I was justified in writing about it. It’s much more than a funny book to me, it’s personal.
Meanwhile, my kids are the most courageous people I know, and I based these three kids on them, at different stages in their lives. Luckily, they never had to go through a divorce, but kids are tested in lots of ways. Much like their dad, ours have passed every test I knew about. But because they are who they are, I’m sure they’ve passed tests I don’t know about.
Like Jake, who had been Jack at the start, I changed Lexie’s name when she turned out to be such a feet-firmly-on-the-ground character, not at all the flighty ballerina she looked like. I don’t even remember what the first name was. But I suspect her of being one of Sallie March’s great-great- great-grandnieces.