Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We interrupt this Writer's Middle Finger bonanza for some good news...THREE!

Three is a magic number.
In all sorts of ways.

But this week, three is a magic number because of starred reviews for GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE.

First, there was Kirkus last Tuesday. You already know about this.

Then, there was Booklist on Friday: "Powerful, moving, and compellingly complex."

Glory and her best friend, Ellie, drink a bat. They mix its desiccated remains with some warm beer on an impulsive night, and now they see visions of the past and future for everyone they encounter. But Glory’s not sure she has a future. She graduated high school with no plans for college, and she’s worried that she’s doomed to be just like her mom, a talented photographer who killed herself when Glory was only four. The future she sees for others, however, is plagued by misogynistic violence, and when she doesn’t see herself or her descendants in any of the visions, she starts rooting around in her mother’s darkroom and journals for clues that will help her free herself from a futureless fate. King performs an impressive balancing act here, juggling the magic realism of Glory’s visions with her starkly realistic struggle to face her grief, feel engaged with her own life, and learn anything that she can about her mother. Imbuing Glory’s narrative with a graceful, sometimes dissonant combination of anger, ambivalence, and hopefulness that resists tidy resolution, award-winning King presents another powerful, moving, and compellingly complex coming-of-age story.

Then, today as I was waiting in line for the flume ride at an amusement park (which eventually soaked my Birkenstocks) and simultaneously trying to make my youngest kid chill about the fear-factor, there was number three, from Publishers Weekly. "Full of provocative ideas and sharply observed thoughts."
✭ High school graduation has already prompted Glory O'Brien to confront the chronic malaise she's felt since her mother's suicide 13 years earlier. Then she and Ellie, a friend who lives in a hippie commune across the street, swirl the ashes of a mummified bat (you read that right) into their beers, and both girls begin receiving "transmissions" from everyone they encounter: "We could see the future. We could see the past. We could see everything." From these visions, Glory learns of a second Civil War, set in motion by misogynistic legislation aimed at preventing women from receiving equal pay for equal work. Writing an account of the events she's learning about from the transmissions helps Glory see a future for yourself and understand the ways in which her mother's legacy and her father's love have shaped her into the thoughtful, mature young woman she is. The bizarre bat-swilling episode recedes, revealing a novel full of provocative ideas and sharply observed thoughts about the pressures society places on teenagers, especially girls.

This brings me great joy. I mean, as much joy as a Vulcan can have, really. (The Vulcan wants to say: It's dust, not ashes. Nobody burned the bat, captain.) Three is a magic number. There is something about three that makes me say: Hey, maybe this book doesn't suck. Maybe people will get it. Maybe I did something right. Thank you Booklist! Thank you Publishers Weekly!

So, tomorrow I will repost Writer's Middle Finger Part Six.

But for now, here is my family. No one wanted to be the little Amish boy holding a puppy, so I said I'd do it.

I don't think Amish boys wear prescription sunnies, but whatever. 

And for fun: What is a multi-purpose spoon?
It's a spoon.
Just a spoon.

Tomorrow, WMF #6.
But for now, let us all eat tacos. Or whatever you do to celebrate with me.
It's a lovely day here, while shit rages on all over the world.
I'm glad Glory O'Brien sees that shit. I'm glad she sees it in our own culture.
I'm glad she drank the bat because she can see that past is present is future.
There is so much work to do.
So much work to do.

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