First Lines

I have this thing about first lines. It’s not that I notice the first line when I start a book, at least not all the time, but often I go back and say – yeah that really set the tone for the book and it certainly made me want to read on. This is true of “Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt.” which is the first line of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. It is such a perfect set up for Virginia’s Fat Girl Code of Conduct, her insecurities, and therefore the story that unfolds. It looks like chick lit, begins to read like it, but truly is so much more. A first line that disappointed me was “If I could tell you one thing about my life it would be this, when I was 7 years old the mailman ran over my head.” from The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall. Maybe it is that you can only go downhill from there, but I read this book because of that line and sometime in the middle it really began to drag. But it is still one of my favorite first lines. I also love “They shoot the white girl first.” found in Paradise by Toni Morrison. The story unfolds in the same way you tell a story, with bits and pieces of information coming to light, not in a linear fashion but piecemeal. It is like being in any small town, where different people know different parts of your story and they put it together. Some of my other favorite first lines can be found on Listology. What are you favorite first lines?


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