Continued analysis of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers as part of the DIY MFA Writer Igniter Reading Challenge. For more details click here.

The following is a scene analysis from the beginning of Chapter 19. This scene helps readers understand who the protagonist is and how she is both relatable. It also solidifies the witty tone of her thoughts. The scene highlights the thematic element of ‘noble silence’ as a strategy for achieving personal transformation as much of this scene is driven by the protagonist’s reflections (since she is unable to talk) with the other person in the scene.

About one-third of the way into the book, on the first full day of the wellness retreat, the protagonist, Frances, is ‘relaxing’ in the pool. However, relaxing is perhaps not the right word considering the chapter starts just after one of the other attendees joins her. The opening line is:

Passage 1 from Chapter 19 from Liane Moriarty’s NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

I like that this immediately allows the reader to know what mood Frances is in (she’s annoyed) and maintains her voice (witty and with a touch of judgmental sarcasm) regarding a stranger she barely knows.

The next passage that I think is important in this scene is this:

Passage 2 from Chapter 19 from Liane Moriarty’s NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

This passage helps in two ways. First, it does a nice job of getting the reader to identify with the protagonist because most people feel self-conscious when wearing their swimming suits around strangers. It shows Frances’s vulnerability. Second, it demonstrates how the thematic element of ‘noble silence’ is causing Frances to reflect on her life and insecurities.

Here’s another passage I think is helpful in this scene:

Passage 3 from Chapter 19 from Liane Moriarty’s NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

This passage again underscores the importance of the ‘noble silence’ in helping Frances contemplate what sort of personal transformation she should work toward during her stay at the wellness retreat. She is insecure about a review of her most recent novel and she would like to not let this affect her confidence. I also like the playful tone of her reflection as it solidifies Frances’s quirkiness.

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