I have to say I wasn’t blown away, which when it comes to DFW makes it a surprising exception. It’s not a bad story, it picks up a lot of steam as it goes, it’s just played really straight-up and kind of stiff, stylistically.
They were up on a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a downed tree in the shallows half hidden by the bank. Lane A. Dean, Jr., and his girlfriend, both in bluejeans and button-up shirts. They sat up on the table’s top portion and had their shoes on the bench part that people sat on to picnic or fellowship together in carefree times.
Do you think this is a good opening? I don’t, really. “the bench part that people sat on to picnic”? The voice is naive, earnest, emotional, traditional, very “in-character,” but used in the third-person it caused a weird cognitive dissonance for me, because it sounds very un-DFW. When I re-read those sentences transposed into the first person, they don’t sound as stilted or melodramatic somehow. Or at least the melodrama feels a little more plausible.