Wednesday, March 3, 2010

COUNTDOWN TO PUBLICATION : DAY 40

DAY 40

Oops. I missed a day!!

The following review in Library Journal makes up for it.

Young-Stone, Michele. The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. Shaye Areheart: Harmony. Apr. 2010. c.384p. ISBN 978-0-307-46447-7. $24. F

Becca Burke was eight years old the first time lightning struck her down. Her dad didn't believe it, and her mom was drunk. Buckley Pitank's life, on the other hand, was finally looking up when his mom's head was opened by a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky. Unknown to each other, Becca and Buckley spend the next 20-some years coming to grips with the aftermath of these incidents. Lonely, disaffected, and estranged from family, they each live out their lives along two separate story lines, taking readers from North Carolina, to the shores of Texas, to the art world of New York City, before they inevitably cross paths through the clever conceit of the handbook in the title. Each character in this startlingly mature debut novel, from Becca's self-absorbed father and self-destructive mother to Buckley's evangelical stepdad, is complicated, nuanced, and sympathetic. Young-Stone's writing style is crystal clear and shot through with lightning-like flashes of description so vivid that readers might think that they are watching a movie. VERDICT It's not often that this reviewer regrets a book's ending, but that's what happened here. The sense of melancholy, tempered by the resilience and heart of the characters, makes this ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler. The author's web site says she has another novel in the hopper. Two thumbs up.—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst. Fort Myers, FL




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