Wednesday, September 26, 2012

People are still reading The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  My debut novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, is the little book that could.

Rescued from the slush pile by my agent, Michelle Brower, refined and brought to fruition and to publication by my incomparable genius editor, Sarah Knight, this book about Becca Burke and Buckley Pitank is still shining a little light out there in independent bookstores and among the finest book bloggers and reviewers.

Thank you to A. B. Riddle for choosing The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors as one of her TOP PICKS, one of her favorite books.  Read more here!

"We've read some great books here at Underground Book Reviews. Our Top Picks are the ones that stood out above the rest. If you're looking for a book to read, you might want to check some of these titles out. Here's the books we loved, and why:"

And thank you to everyone who has read and loved the book and spread the good word.  Thank you Underground Book Reviews!    And thank you to everyone else for the love!

If you know somebody who hasn't read the book yet, loan them your copy or ask them to order a copy from their local bookseller.

I am hard at work on my next novel, tentatively titled FLIGHT, and due out To Be Determined.  This "little" book is not so little anymore.  It's growing, spreading wings, "taking off" really.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: In One Person by John Irving

I'm in the business of writing books, not reviewing them, BUT...  In One Person is written with gusto and heart.  Admittedly and brilliantly heavy-handed, the book does what it sets out to do, and exemplifies the narrator's last spoken word:  "'My dear boy, please don't put a label on me--don't make me a category before you get to know me!'"

I am reminded of a few book clubs where readers told me they were "uncomfortable" at the sex in my debut novel.  "How do you decide what to include and how much to include-sexually speaking?"  "Does it have to be there?"  "Can't you just allude to it?"  One of my best friends, a fellow writer used to tell me, "Don't leave the audience without the payoff."  Well, rest-assured, John Irving does not leave you without payoff in In One Person.  

Although, like everyone else, man or woman, I am pining for the young, cruel Jacques Kittredge, aside from Jacques, there's not too much pining in this novel.  

As with all of Irving's books, there's a broad spectrum of nuanced characters, a scenic Vermont, bears or beers, Venice, Switzerland, WrEsTlinG, lust and love, with everything tying back and forward and back again to the characters' motivations.  No one is all bad, not even Jacques Kittredge's mother.  "What's a mom to do under the circumstance?" (Can't give it away...)

Irving captures the brutality of the AIDS epidemic in a manner that is not over-done.  It's just enough.  He trusts his reader to know WHAT happened and how it happened and how most of America distanced themselves, remaining "uninvolved", from the horror of what was happening.

This book, like nearly all of John Irving's novels, will replay and resonate with me for a long time.  And I hope that, as when Maya Angelou reminded me, 'If someone calls someone a nigger, you're guilty if you don't speak up and protest the racism,' I hope that this book helps to reinforce that we should not stand by and let people, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Question Mark, be called "fag" or "lesbo" or any other derogatory term.  Nor should we stand by and let our laws discriminate against anyone based on sexual identity.  

John Irving's book is an apt and timely work of fiction, relevant to today's decisive, often discriminatory atmosphere.  "We already are who we are, aren't we?"  

Aren't we?