So. Like Dave told you last week, I was working my way through Les Miserables. He kindly went two weeks in a row so that I could finish. And I’ve been trying. Really. And I might have been able to do it, but after 200-250 pages a day, you really can’t read more. So. I am getting close to the end and should be exploring it with you guys TOMORROW, February 8th, 2013. So tune back in tomorrow for my talk about Les Miserables (where I will discuss its length but also discuss the beauty of it, trust me, it will be a scintillating discussion.).
Today, I decided to talk about something else. While Dave has mentioned this on his own personal blog , he has yet to discuss it on here. Dave had his first book published! He’s been rocking short story publications for awhile now. He had quite a few of those short stories that went together, all told by the same narrator. Together they form a novel. It’s titled Bones Buried in Dirt, and if you press that link it’ll take you to the amazon page for it. It has a 5 star rating.
Dave gave me the opportunity of reading it directly prior to publication. I loved it! If you remember, in a prior entry about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Dave talks about children narrators. At some point in the course of our blog, one of us will be rereading To Kill a Mockingbird, probably one of the most famous examples of child narrators. My point, before I digressed, is that Dave’s book has a child narrator. His name is Peter and the stories that make up the book start around age 4 and follow him to age 12. The time frame for the story is mid 80s to 90s (from what I can tell from Dave’s cultural references in it). The setting is Omaha, NE.
The following is a list of why I think Dave’s book deserves accolades and its 5 star rating on Amazon:
1) I sometimes forgot that the _author_ of the book was an adult, he wrote the child narration so well. (And this is even with knowing the author!)
2) Dave captured, through Peter, a lot of events that echoed in my own life, and probably in yours as well. Dave covers the literalism of a preschooler, and the hurt that can sometimes happen due to that literalism. He covers the time frame of sexual experimentation during elementary school years (and it’s not the fuzzy kiss the pillow stuff you normally read in literature about childhood). He explores how it feels to lie to an authority and a friend after a betrayal. First love. Living with a parent with some obvious mental illness issues, who as an adult, you can see is trying his best, and to Peter is normal. The burgeoning relationship with a father.
3) He does all of this in an unflinching, raw, sometimes painful to look at way. People glamorize and romanticize childhood way more than we should. Childhood is painful. It’s raw and it hurts. A reviewer on Amazon said this about Bones Buried in Dirt “It rips away the fuzzy, pink insulation that is normally wrapped around memories
of childhood, leaving behind jagged edges that cut and wound” . And his book does. That’s what sets it apart from the other books out there.
4) He details Peter’s growth as an individual from preschooler to preteen amazingly well. We see Peter’s mindsets, thought processes and compassion levels change and develop throughout.
5) He uses the locale of Peter’s neighborhood in such a way that it almost becomes another full character in the book.
There are a lot of other reasons, but those are my main ones. I do definitely believe I will reread Dave’s book at some point, just because some of it was so raw that it was hard to process a first time. Raw, emotionally, not writing wise.
Go the following places if you’re interested in knowing more:
Dave’s blog–where he talks about the publication and ongoing information on the book.
Amazon, where you can both purchase the book and read reviews on it.
Tattered Cover, an amazing independent bookstore in Denver Colorado. If you are ever in the Denver area, run, run, drive like it’s the Indy 500 to Tattered Cover. I only went there once, in the mid 90s and I still think of it in the way a dieter thinks of hot caramel sundaes or an ex smoker thinks of a cigarette. You can either go physically to the store to buy a copy of Dave’s book, or you can order it online. For those of you that would like to support an independent bookseller versus a giant like Amazon, this is the option for you.
Goodreads, where you can’t purchase it but can read the reviews on it to make your final purchasing decision, or if you have a Goodreads account, could add it to your to be read pile as a reminder to pick it up once you’re ready to purchase. (By the way, Bones Buried in Dirt has a 4.92 rating on Goodreads as well).
And finally, Facebook, where you can like the page for Bones Buried in Dirt and maybe beg Dave to sign your copy somehow 😀
I urge all of you to read it. It’s an amazing book, and phenomenally well done.