#777 Challenge Accepted – “American Honey”

Great 777 post!

Erin Kettle

Christi R. Suzanne tagged me for the #777challenge. We met through an eye-opening author class at the Attic Institute with Whitney Otto in Portland. Since then, a few of us have stuck together to become great writing, critiquing, and commiserating friends.

Check out her stuff and her novel MORT ADDENDUM…you’ll never look at Kool-Aid ever the same! Follow her at @christirsuzanne.

The goal of the 777 challenge is to share seven lines from page seven of your manuscript, then tag seven more writers.

This excerpt comes from my finished novel, AMERICAN HONEY (currently looking for representation).

AMERICAN HONEY is women’s fiction weaving together a journey in two timelines about coming-of-age, leaving your past behind, and then recapturing it.

American Honey

So on to the next, I challenge friends from The Writer’s Voice, Pitch to Pub and Query Kombat!

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Broken Homes & Gardens Review

Broken Homes & GardensBroken Homes & Gardens by Rebecca Kelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can a man and woman be friends? Harry asked Sally this in the popular 80’s flick, and one of my favorite movies of all time, When Harry Met Sally. This assumes that the man and the woman we are speaking of are interested in the opposite sex. Rebecca Kelley’s debut novel, Broken Homes & Gardens, also attempts to answer this question for the modern reader.

Malcolm and Joanna meet at a party and subsequently end up in bed and then write letters to each other while he goes overseas for a year. They were never really friends, were they? Of course they were. Kelley does a beautiful job of pulling together their friendship and the attraction for the length of the novel. We see how they complement each other. Joanna is a little boxed in and must follow her self-imposed rules and teaches Malcolm to answer for his actions. Malcolm is more open and free and teaches Joanna to let go.

Joanna is convinced that she only wants to be friends with Malcolm in order to remain in his life forever. If they were to get into a romantic entanglement it would end sooner rather than continue on into infinity. Joanna struggles wholeheartedly to deny herself her feelings for Malcolm that we wonder if they will ever end up together, or if they even should.

Malcom on the other hand is a strong character who knows what he wants, but isn’t sure if he can win over the part of Joanna that struggles to push him away. Malcolm is just the type of level-headed, laid back, and good-with-his-hands type of guy that a lot women would love to have vying for their attention. Yet, Joanna struggles with the concept of getting into a long-term relationship with him.

The passion portrayed on the pages lends to the overall authenticity created within the lives of these characters. We are driven to root for these two to somehow make it through their own self-imposed restrictions and hope they end up together.

Kelley answers the question I posed at the beginning of this review with: men and women can be friends and lovers if they listen to their hearts.

Interview with the author to come! Check my website for the update.

Disclaimer: I am friends with the author and received a review copy.

View all my reviews

Review: The Hearing Trumpet

The Hearing Trumpet
The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a strange and wonderful book! It’s strangely wonderful. I have a lot more to say about this and I’m working on a much longer book review of this particular book. I have thought of this book so much in the past couple of months since I finished it.

check out my recommendation on The Lit Pub Blog: http://thelitpub.com/discovery-a-repetitive-process/

View all my reviews

Review: An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky

An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky
An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky by Dan Beachy-Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dan Beachy-Quick’s An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky is an impressionistic take on the complexities of being more than one thing to more than one person and trying to understand it. And I’ll admit it, I picked it because I loved the title. It sounded so poetic and like it must have been an allusion to something I didn’t understand. Another thing I liked was Beachy-Quick’s name. It’s rhythmic and sounds like it should be the beginning of a poem or the refrain in a song or a chant at the very least.

Initially, I have to admit that I had a difficult time getting into the book. It isn’t what most would call plot-driven or even character-driven. It’s driven, sure, but not in the typical fashion that most readers are used to. At first that made me feel uncomfortable, like I didn’t know what to do with myself, but the more I started reading, the more I got into the rhythm and the motion of the book. I let it do what it was doing and when I could reach out and grab onto something that looked like a plot point or a character foible, I did, but I held on loosely. I didn’t want to be dragged down by plot or character because inevitably the story would move in a different direction.

One of the more grounding sections of the book is when we meet Daniel, a teacher who loves Melville and the novel, Moby Dick. In fact, he’s obsessed with it, much like Melville’s narrator is obsessed with finding the big white whale. He slowly starts to back away and feel less engaged with the class he is teaching. After the narrator cancels his class one day a section that echos Melville’s Moby Dick reads:

“Call me Daniel. I have a gift I keep to myself, the gift of self-abandon. It is the orphan’s lesson if he can learn it–not to feel abandoned, but to continue his abandonment past the bounds of where the loss should end, parent’s death that prefigures one’s own. Fate is everywhere speaking; it does not call you by name; it tells you to name yourself. Call me Daniel.”

This use of intertextuality only lends to Beachy-Quick’s multi-dimensional fairytale-like story, though it is unnecessary for the reader to have read Moby Dick to understand the feeling of exile and alienation that our narrator, Daniel, is feeling. Its strength lies in the call to action and reaches far beyond the bounds of the book into another one to give a layered meaning. The theme of alienation, self-afflicted or otherwise, is a strong thread that runs through the book.

Beachy-Quick also uses images to weave stories and connect the reader to what is being read. Images like water, whales, volcanoes, a fairytale book from his childhood conjure up visual cues that trigger memories from different times in the narrator’s life. The abandonment theme comes in again when the narrator remembers the time when he wanted to show Lydia (his lover) his book, but when he goes to grab it, it is gone. Vanished. “I could not say it, but it was true. Everyone vanishes.” The young narrator remembers this scene with nostalgia and abandon. I couldn’t help but feel the weight of that thought.

Strangely, this book was hard to pin down, but I liked that. I liked the way its meaning floated above and around me. This didn’t make it easy to read, but it made it interesting and different from the more linear stories I am used to. I think the best words to describe this book are layered and complex. It entangles itself with a variety of texts that use intersections of imagination, memories, and fairytales. Not a fast read, but a thought-provoking one.

View all my reviews

Review: An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky

An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky
An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky by Dan Beachy-Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dan Beachy-Quick’s An Impenetrable Screen of Purest Sky is an impressionistic take on the complexities of being more than one thing to more than one person and trying to understand it. And I’ll admit it, I picked it because I loved the title. It sounded so poetic and like it must have been an allusion to something I didn’t understand. Another thing I liked was Beachy-Quick’s name. It’s rhythmic and sounds like it should be the beginning of a poem or the refrain in a song or a chant at the very least.

Initially, I have to admit that I had a difficult time getting into the book. It isn’t what most would call plot-driven or even character-driven. It’s driven, sure, but not in the typical fashion that most readers are used to. At first that made me feel uncomfortable, like I didn’t know what to do with myself, but the more I started reading, the more I got into the rhythm and the motion of the book. I let it do what it was doing and when I could reach out and grab onto something that looked like a plot point or a character foible, I did, but I held on loosely. I didn’t want to be dragged down by plot or character because inevitably the story would move in a different direction.

One of the more grounding sections of the book is when we meet Daniel, a teacher who loves Melville and the novel, Moby Dick. In fact, he’s obsessed with it, much like Melville’s narrator is obsessed with finding the big white whale. He slowly starts to back away and feel less engaged with the class he is teaching. After the narrator cancels his class one day a section that echos Melville’s Moby Dick reads:

“Call me Daniel. I have a gift I keep to myself, the gift of self-abandon. It is the orphan’s lesson if he can learn it–not to feel abandoned, but to continue his abandonment past the bounds of where the loss should end, parent’s death that prefigures one’s own. Fate is everywhere speaking; it does not call you by name; it tells you to name yourself. Call me Daniel.”

This use of intertextuality only lends to Beachy-Quick’s multi-dimensional fairytale-like story, though it is unnecessary for the reader to have read Moby Dick to understand the feeling of exile and alienation that our narrator, Daniel, is feeling. Its strength lies in the call to action and reaches far beyond the bounds of the book into another one to give a layered meaning. The theme of alienation, self-afflicted or otherwise, is a strong thread that runs through the book.

Beachy-Quick also uses images to weave stories and connect the reader to what is being read. Images like water, whales, volcanoes, a fairytale book from his childhood conjure up visual cues that trigger memories from different times in the narrator’s life. The abandonment theme comes in again when the narrator remembers the time when he wanted to show Lydia (his lover) his book, but when he goes to grab it, it is gone. Vanished. “I could not say it, but it was true. Everyone vanishes.” The young narrator remembers this scene with nostalgia and abandon. I couldn’t help but feel the weight of that thought.

Strangely, this book was hard to pin down, but I liked that. I liked the way its meaning floated above and around me. This didn’t make it easy to read, but it made it interesting and different from the more linear stories I am used to. I think the best words to describe this book are layered and complex. It entangles itself with a variety of texts that use intersections of imagination, memories, and fairytales. Not a fast read, but a thought-provoking one.

View all my reviews