The Writers Voice_Johnson_Pretty Little Boxes


PRETTY LITTLE BOXES, a character-driven suburban novel, is complete at 79,000 words. In the tradition of Cheever and Updike, this quasi-satirical look at life, circa 1950’s suburban America, chronicles one frenetic summer in the Levittownesque subdivision of Crestview. 

Electroshock therapy, illegal contraception, the talking dead…Welcome to mid-twentieth century suburbia where each day slams uniformly into the next. The first day of summer brings a dead dog, a retirement party made to look like Christmas and a discussion on the true meaning of the word Negro.

Trapped within the boxes—a widow with a secret, a queen bee questioning her sanity, the Negro maid wanting for more, a retiree attempting to reconnect with his family, and a young newlywed who fears her kitchen.

Five different people struggle under the smothering confines of a summer heat wave. When rain arrives promising relief, but instead becomes one of the worst hurricanes in New England history, they are forced to figure out what lies beyond their pretty little boxes.

I have had short stories published in the Wilderness House Literary Review and Grub Street. I received my bachelor’s degree in Literature from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in Television/Video Production from Emerson College.

PRETTY LITTLE BOXES will appeal to fans of Kate Walbert’s OUR KIND as well as readers of Robb Forman Dew. The complete manuscript is available upon request.

First 250 Words 

     There were rules to living in a community such as Crestview. In spite of these rules or perhaps because of them, the first day of summer brought a dead dog, a retirement party made to look like Christmas and a discussion on the true meaning of the word Negro.

     A burnt dinner set off the fire alarm, which the dog heard. He, not held behind a fence because the rules prevented them, ran into a wild pack of dogs untrained by owners who’d purchased them in haste, yet another prop in attaining the American dream. Fido, the name on his tag, shaped like a bone set in silver with diamonds around its edges, quickly broke free of the pack roaming the neighborhood, and tore across lawns and streets. He didn’t stop running until the car forced him to. Ginie didn’t see Fido because of the party across the street. The sign said, ‘Retirement’, though it was in red, green and silver which reminded Ginie of something you’d see at Christmas and served to distract her just enough to miss the running canine. Though not a lover of animals herself, killing one had not been a part of her day’s plans. Her neighbor, Lloyd, the retiree, who’d spent his entire adult life in annuities, was currently looking in his bathroom mirror practicing his speech, eager to place his past behind him and move forward to a future which focused on family rather than finances. 


  1. This is so cool. LIke a dystopia of the past. You have my attention. Good Luck!

    1. Thank you so much! I just need one agent to feel this way (and maybe a publisher)...


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