Thursday, May 24, 2007

The pencil test

So I've been reading The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson (the second book in her Zodiac series, which I highly recommend) and near the front of the book is a quirky little scene involving the main character's friends and a pencil.

Without giving anything away, the friends are slightly air-headed socialites, and the main character, Joanna, walks in to find them standing naked in front of a mirror performing what they call the 'pencil test'. Circumstances being what they are, Joanna has to pretend she knows what they are talking about, and to be honest, at the start of the scene, I was just as lost as her.

So what is the pencil test?
--A simple test that measures gravity's damage on the female body by lifting and tucking a pencil in the areas with the most potential to sag, such as under the breast and buttocks. If the pencil falls, congratulations, gravity has not yet wrought horror on your body, but if the pencil settles into a fold, it might be time to hit the gym to get some lift back.

The scene surrounding this test is hysterical, and one of those well placed scenes that despite it's frivolity, helps the rising tension by controlling the pacing so it doesn't wind up too tight too fast (as well as getting the characters into a place where important information can be revealed... it is amazing how much a good writer can fit into scenes that seem like only comic relief at first.)

Being the dork that I am, once I got to the end of the chapter, I closed the book and tried the pencil test. I won't tell you the results, but I found it hilarious to perform the test (and explain to the hubbie what I was doing.) I'd love to know if Vicki made it up or if she ran across it somewhere else. I have the feeling that even if I eventually forget what the rest of the book was about one day, I'll always remember that silly, mostly insignificant scene.

When you think back to some of your favorite books read recently, what scenes stick out the most? Does anyone else have a silly and/or insignificant scene that stuck with you that you care to share why it stood out?


Rachel Vincent said...

That was one of my favorite scenes in the book! And I believe she said she got it from one of her showgirl friends. ;-)

Rachel Vincent said...

P.S. I did not try the test. Wasn't even tempted. ;-)