One of our readers submitted the first page of her novel. Feel free to make comments, but please keep them constructive.
Critique Archive 0005:
It had been fifty years since I last visited my parents’ home in Foster Center. The farm had been bought and sold and the land divided. At my grand niece’s wedding reception, one of the old-timers, like me, told me my folks’ place was still standing, although abandoned. It was the last farmhouse remaining on the east side of the creek.
When the festivities died down I drove to the home where I’d spent my youth. The road was paved, a few sidewalks had cropped up, and newer homes replaced the old. I had previously returned to Foster on brief visits for family functions, but I’d never stayed long. Now, at the age of seventy-five, I was going home.
The farmhouse sat a half-mile from the new road. The trees surrounding the property were immense and bent with age, and the house was smaller than I remembered. Driving down the rutted lane, I parked and climbed out of the car. I ascended the creaky steps to the front porch. Leaves were strewn everywhere, and some of the boards were rotted through. I pulled open the screen, surprised it was still there, and pushed the front door open. After stepping into the dim interior of the empty house, I unfastened a stubborn window and open it. Fading light entered the room, revealing dust and cobwebs. A rocking chair, resembling my mother’s, stood alone in the center of the floor. I could almost see my siblings sitting near her knees, laughing at her silly stories, as the rocker creaked back and forth.
I brushed off some of the dust and caressed the smooth curving wood—it felt cool to the touch—then I dragged the chair to the porch. Twilight had begun to fade, but the weather was still warm. I sat and began to rock, just as my father had, just as my mother had.
Closing my eyes, I listened to the crickets begin their song. Memories flooded through my mind and once again I was a young woman of nineteen.