Tag Archives: New York City

Q&A with Susan Rebecca White, Author of A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White (Touchstone; 336 pages; $25).

a place at the tableA rich, beautiful novel about three unlikely, complex characters who meet in a chic Manhattan café and realize they must sacrifice everything they ever knew or cared about to find authenticity, fulfillment, and love.

A Place at the Table tells the story of three richly nuanced characters whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café: Bobby, a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret finally comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef whose heritage is the basis of a famous cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her.

As it sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to the Manhattan of the deadly AIDs epidemic of the 1980s to today’s wealthy suburbs, A Place at the Table celebrates the healing power of food and the magic of New York as three seekers come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.


If you are a fan of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, you will absolutely devour Susan Rebecca White’s newest creation, A Place at the Table.  Thanks to the wonderful Alison Law, I was able to ask Susan three questions and here are her answers.

Do you have several story ideas in your head at one time? How do you know when you can run with an idea and

Photo Credit: Dorothy O'Connor

Photo Credit: Dorothy O’Connor

when you need to shelf it for later and when you should just discard it?

I work on several story lines at once. While writing A Place at the Table I would work on Bobby’s section for a little bit; then hit a wall. Then I’d turn to Amelia and work on her section for a bit; then hit a wall. Then I’d turn to Alice. That’s probably why I keep returning to the multiple narrator form. I can pick up a different piece of the storyline when I exhaust myself with another.

I am not entirely sure how it is that I ultimately decide which storylines stay in the final novel and which are jettisoned. I write a lot more than is ever actually published. I probably wrote 1000 pages of text when putting together A Place at the Table, but only 300 + made it to the final draft. I am a big believer in spilling material and then tidying it up during the editorial process. Often I think of writing as excavation. The story is in there, but I have to dig it out of me. And I dig it out by writing.

In your opinion what is good fiction?               

Good fiction disrupts the tidy narratives that we create about our lives and exposes something deeper, darker, and ultimately more authentic. Good fiction excavates if not The Truth then deeper truths about who we are. Ultimately good fiction connects us to each other. There’s an adage “the more specific, the more universal.” By paying exquisite attention to specific characters on the page, seeing who they really are beneath the well-rehearsed stories they tell of their lives, we begin to question our own tidy narratives, our own delusions. Good fiction makes you acutely aware of being alive when you are reading it, even though you are reading about someone else’s story. And in that regard good fiction does what we ask of religion: It takes us outside of ourselves. It helps us transcend our own limited perspectives. Good fiction also grabs us, makes us want to know what happens next, makes us want to turn the page.

How would you respond to those who claim women writers do not write “serious” fiction?

Hmm. Well, first I would want to give that person the middle finger, but being a nice southern woman I’d probably refrain. I guess I respond by giving a big eye roll, shaking my head at ignorance, rolling up my sleeves, and getting back to work.


Learn More about Susan:

susanrebeccawhiteauthorphotoBorn and raised in Atlanta, Susan Rebecca White earned a BA in English from Brown University, then moved to San Francisco, where she taught and waited tables for several years, before moving to Virginia to earn her MFA in creative writing from Hollins University. At Hollins, she was a teaching fellow and the recipient of the James Purdy prize for outstanding fiction.

Susan’s debut novel, Bound South, received wide critical acclaim and was shortlisted for theTownsend Prize. Bound South was followed by A Soft Place to Land, also critically acclaimed and a Target “Club Pick.” Susan’s third novel, A Place at the Table, is receiving early praise and is on the American Booksellers Association “Indie Next List” for June of 2013. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) selected A Place at the Table as a 2013 Summer “Okra Pick.

Susan has been invited to festivals and book events around the country and has been a speaker at numerous academic and cultural institutions, including SCAD Atlanta, the Carter Center, the Margaret Mitchell house, and Birmingham’s Hoover library. Susan appeared in the February 2011 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, in a photograph and accompanying essay celebrating women authors living in Atlanta. During the summer of 2011, Susan lived in Manhattan to gain on-the-ground knowledge of the city and research in greater depth the history of Café Nicholson, the real-life restaurant that inspired Café Andres in A Place at the Table.

Susan currently lives in Atlanta, where she teaches creative writing at Emory University. During the winter of 2011 she was the writer-in-residence at SCAD Atlanta. She is married to Sam Redburn Reid, also an Atlanta native, meaning she and Sam both grew up eating Varsity hamburgers and riding the pink pig at the Rich’s downtown.

Did you know?

Susan and Lauren Myracle are sisters.  Myracle, a New York Times bestselling author, writes books for tweens and teens.

Susan Rebecca White’s Website


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Filed under author interviews, beach books, contemporary fiction, fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, Southern fiction, Southern writers, Summer Reading, women's fiction, women's lit

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Book Review: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; 368 pages; $25.95).

other typist“They said the typewriter would unsex us,” Suzanne Rindell writes in her dark and arresting debut The Other Typist.  A typewriter “is a stern thing, full of gravity, its boxy angles coming straight to the point, with no trace of curvaceous tomfoolery or feminine whimsy,” completely masculine. Although there is nothing feminine about a typewriter, the device has typically been used by women.

The typist in danger of being unsexed is Rose Baker, Rindell’s main character who is accused of a crime she claims not to have committed and deemed mad.  Her narrative consists of a journal she is keeping for her doctor, slowly clueing us in on the reason for her institutionalization.

A typewriter excuses nothing.  With the “sheer violence of its iron arms,” it strikes “at the page with unforgiving force.”  Women tend to be more forgiving than men, but “forgiving is not the typewriter’s duty,” yet another example of its innate maleness.

In the 1920s, the setting for Rindell’s tale, women were not supposed to be violent criminals.  Men committed crimes; women, with their “delicate” sensibilities, cared for their husbands, bore and nurtured their children, and maintained the home.  But Rose is not the typical 1920s woman.

There is one crucial element about Rose that you need to know: she is an unreliable narrator.  Come on, no human can possibly type 300 words per minute.  You cannot trust anything she says, making her a thrilling and unforgettable character.  Rose, a consummate liar, will surely remind readers of Amy from Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster bestseller Gone Girl.  Rindell’s narrator also shares many of the same qualities as Grace from Charlotte Rogan’s absorbing novel The Lifeboat.  Like Amy and Grace, Rose is an unknown, unknowable, and enigmatic character; you learn to expect the unexpected from her rather early on in Rindell’s novel.

The anticipation builds as Rose grows increasingly obsessed with Odalie, her fellow typist at a police precinct in New York City’s Lower East Side.  For Rose, Odalie is “sweet nectar” she cannot help but succumb to.  She is drawn to Odalie, like an “insect drawn to his peril.”  Rose’s fixation on Odalie reminded me of Patricia Highsmith’s cunning novel The Talented Mr. Ripley.

“A lying criminal always trips himself up (or herself, I suppose, rare though that alternate scenario may be) either giving too many details or else revealing the wrong ones,” Rindell writes.  In this way, the author slowly and shrewdly reveals the truth, and it is both surprising and extraordinary.

In Rindell’s expert hands, the budding science of criminology and history merge to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the period.

Suzanne Rindell

Suzanne Rindell

New York City in the 1920s comes to vivid life as Rindell recreates the jazz-age period of flappers and Prohibition and throws in decadent parties (think The Great Gatsby), moonshine, and speakeasies.  The experience is a grand and heady one that always keeps you engaged and guessing.

You are powerless to fight the pull of The Other Typist.  It is just impossible.  The Other Typist ensnared me from the first page and never let me take a breath until I closed the book.  Rindell may be a rookie, but she possesses an inherent knowledge of storytelling.  Easily my favorite mystery novel of the year, The Other Typist held me in its suspenseful grip, and I was content to abide in its clutches.  This novel is so shocking you’ll have to force yourself to close your mouth when you read the last page.

The Other Typist is a book and not a steak, but it’s juicy and appealing.  One taste and you are want more and more and more.  Rindell successfully creates two remarkable women who seize our attention, stun us, and make us fans for life.

Keira Knightley to star in and take a producer’s role on the jazz-age period piece, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It is unknown which of the two main characters she will play.

Keira Knightley

Who do you see Knightley as: Rose or Odalie?  And why?


Filed under book review, Bookmagnet's Best Books of the Month, books, Debut Novels, fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, mystery, Summer Reading, thriller

Book Review: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl by Tara Conklin (William Morrow; 384 pages; $25.99).


            Tara Conklin knows how to open a story.  “Mister hit Josephine with the palm of his hand across her left cheek and it was then she knew she would run,” Conklin writes in her passionate and politically charged debut The House Girl.  Reading the novel’s opening line, I feel the sting of the blow just as Josephine does.  “Today was the last day, there would be no others,” Josephine vows.  The urge hits me to help her escape, but I cannot aid her in flight; I am just a reader, after all.  And, just like that, Conklin has her audience transfixed.  Josephine’s well-being is of utmost concern.

When was the last time you read a story like that?  A story that made you actually care about what happened to one of its characters to such an extent that you bit your fingernails to the quick and let the world pass you by until you knew the fate of the protagonist?  Conklin’s novel is that tale, a book that will keep readers up all night just to learn what becomes of Josephine, who is, for me, the heart of The House Girl.

The House Girl is a remarkable story that successfully intertwines the lives of two very different women, separated by circumstances and by the passage of time.

In 2004, Lina Sparrow is a young, driven, first-year associate at a prestigious New York City law firm.  She is given a high-profile assignment to find the perfect plaintiff in an unprecedented historic lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of African American slaves.  Trillions of dollars are at stake, not to mention Lina’s reputation, as she sets out to find a picture-perfect candidate for the class-action suit.

In 1852, Josephine is a house slave in Virginia.  At the tender age of seventeen, she serves the Bell family, owners of a tobacco plantation.  Josephine has already escaped once before and paid a very high price for running away.  Despite physical punishment and the emotional toll that enslavement has inflicted upon her body and her psyche, Josephine is determined to escape to the North.  She seeks only to be her own mistress.

These two disparate storylines intersect when Lina discusses the case with her father, Oscar, a famous artist, who gives her a lead.  The art world, Oscar says, is abuzz over a controversy surrounding the paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist who is well-known for works that featured her slaves.  Art historians and collectors, however, question the authenticity of the artworks; they do not believe Bell painted a number of the canvases.  Many believe her house slave, Josephine, was the actual artist.

You can see the wheels turning inside Lina’s head when she hears the story.  Josephine’s descendant, Lina believes, will be the perfect plaintiff.  The question is: what happened to Josephine?  Did she escape?  Did she have any children?

Lina sets out on a quest and travels to what remains of the Bell property in Virginia, now home to an archive.  There, she painstakingly combs through letters, plantation records, receipts, and diaries in hopes of discovering Josephine’s fate.

Curiously, Lina’s dogged pursuit changes her own life.  Josephine’s journey acts as the catalyst Lina needs to question her own identity and her history.  Because Conklin writes the story with such immediacy, we feel as if we have tagged along with Lina on her exploration.  The fates of both “house” girls matter deeply to us.

The House Girl carries enormous appeal as a crossover novel.  Conklin combines mystery, historical fiction, and art history with a little romance.  The real strength of The House Girl lies in Conklin’s remarkable ability to make the past come alive accurately and acutely.  Josephine’s world is beautifully and painfully rendered, and the horrifying tragedies her character endures are entirely plausible.  Conklin provides a stunning glimpse into Josephine’s life, and readers will never forget this young, courageous slave girl.

Conklin leaves us with a provocative and potentially controversial topic: slavery reparations.  Who should be compensated?  Who is a rightful descendant and who is not?

Marie Claire Magazine calls The House Girl “THE book-club book of 2013,” and I wholeheartedly agree.  Conklin has created two extraordinary, unforgettable women in Josephine and Lina.  It is Josephine, however, who will steal your heart and not let go.  You will want to spirit her away, but you are powerless until the very last page.  Conklin’s historical debut is a poignant masterpiece.

Look what tops the Indie Next list for February 2013!

Look what tops the Indie Next list for February 2013!

The Author

The Author


Filed under book review, books, fiction, historical fiction, history, literary fiction

Book Review: Perfect is Overrated by Karen Bergreen

Perfect is Overrated by Karen Bergreen (St. Martin’s Griffin; 308 pages; $14.99).

                Most authors do not know how to use humor in their storytelling.  Their attempts at comedy fall flat or come out all wrong.  Karen Bergreen, though, is not like those writers.

Bergreen is a stand-up comic who has appeared on Court TV, Comedy Central, Oxygen, and on Law & Order.  That is just her “second” career.  She is a former attorney who also clerked for a federal judge.  Bergreen is smack-dab in the midst of undertaking yet another vocation: author.  Her latest laugh-out-loud murder mystery is called Perfect is Overrated; she previously wrote Following Polly.    

                In Perfect is Overrated, Bergreen’s comedic timing is impeccably spot-on.  After the mother of one of her daughter’s preschool classmates is murdered, Kate Alger remembers meeting her for the first time.  The mothers and their daughters were sitting in a waiting area of the preschool’s admissions office.  Beverly offered her daughter, Bitsy, some hummus.  Molly, Kate’s daughter, thought the woman would offer her some, too.  “She’s not sick, is she?” Beverly asked, anxiously.  “Bitsy doesn’t like germs.”  Beverly made it clear to little Molly that the food was for Bitsy and she could not have any.  Kate instead offered Molly old saltine crackers from her purse.  Beverly was horrified, “Ooh, you do salt?”  Beverly then turned to Bitsy: “Bitsy, sweetie.  Mommy is going to help Bitsy out of her stroller.  And then Bitsy can give Mommy a kiss.  Mommy loves Bitsy.”  And then Bitsy threw up on Beverly.  “Molly took the second saltine out of its plastic wrap and handed it to the little girl.”  See what I mean?  Bergreen knows instinctively where to position humor in her storytelling.

But Perfect is Overrated is not all punch-lines and laughter.  Kate once had the perfect life.  She was an assistant district attorney who loved her job and was married to Paul, a gorgeous cop.  The couple was overjoyed to be expecting their first child.  Molly’s premature arrival and her touch-and-go first weeks of life irrevocably changed all that.  Kate developed postpartum depression, and nothing, not even Molly, could pull her from the black depths of despair.  Paul knew how to deal with perps but he had no clue how to handle an emotional and despondent wife.  They divorced.  He moved into an apartment right above his ex and their daughter.

Kate finally finds a cure for her postpartum blues when someone begins murdering the wealthy, snobby, seemingly perfect moms in Molly’s class.  Paul and Kate’s old boss are on the case.  Kate is hungry for information and launches her own investigation, which includes breaking into Paul’s computer and doing some snooping in her old boss’ office.  Kate gets more than she ever bargained for, though, when she discovers she could be next.

Because Bergreen knows the law, the plot to Perfect is Overrated is true to life.  She knows the ins and outs of police procedure and how to build a case against a perpetrator.  Because she also knows comedy, the story is funny, too.  Case in point:  when the killer is finally in police custody, the accused describes one of the murders.  “She answered the door in a stupid Chanel suit, which, I’m sorry, is so over.  Coco is dead, lady.  Buy de la Renta.”  I think I can honestly say that I have never read a funnier mystery.

Bergreen’s two careers, law and comedy, come together in this novel.  It’s a good marriage, one that I hope is long-lasting. May she never stray.


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I Need Your Vote

Book Expo America 2012 is coming up in June. I desperately want to attend, but I need your help.

Goodreads is sponsoring the Independent Book Blogger Awards. You vote for your favorite blog in several categories. Then, a panel of judges chooses from the top 15 vote-getters. The prize is a trip to Book Expo America in New York City in June.

Guess what? I entered my blog. And that’s why I need your help.

Simply put, I need your vote.

There are a number of reasons why I would love to attend Book Expo America.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. I have never been to BEA before. I always read about it. I always dream of going. Last year, my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer in May. Within one week of his diagnosis, he was already under hospice care. He passed away June 8 of last year, so I was unable to attend the last BEA.

2. I have never been to New York City. Nope. Not ever. Always wanted to go to NYC. So much there to do and see. Your vote can help make my dream into a reality.

3. I have a PhD in American History, but it’s books I love and books I’m passionate about. I am trying to make a go in book reviewing. It’s my dream to one day work for Oprah Magazine, Elle, Vogue, or in the publishing industry. Your vote would give me the opportunity to get my foot in the door, as the saying goes.

4. Going to BEA would give me the chance to meet authors, both my favorites and new ones. If you know me or you know my blog, then you know how much I love to interview authors. Perhaps at BEA I could meet perspective blog interviewees.

5. Going to BEA would also give me the chance to meet publishers. This would mean I would get more advanced reading copies of books for review. There are so many books released each week. Sometimes it is difficult to keep track. There are many great novels that go unnoticed or unappreciated. I do not want that to happen. I could tell publishers what kinds of novels I like, and they, in turn, would suggest upcoming titles for me to read and review.

6. Going to BEA would also give me the chance to host giveaways on my blog. I have never done this before. I see others give ARCs and even signed books away all the time. Giveways are something I have considered. I would love to be able to give some things away on my blog and on Twitter.

7. Attending BEA 2012 would also allow me to meet other book bloggers/reviewers who are just like me (and maybe you). We could exchange ideas and contact information. It would be nice to do that!

8. I have thought recently about organizing a “One City, One Book” for my hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. I am sure you have heard of this idea–where everyone who wants to participate gets together and chooses a book to read. People get together throughout a designated month and discuss the novel. Perhaps, if my city chose a living author, we could even host the author for a book talk in person or through Skype. Your vote would help make this happen.

9. I am a book collector. Imagine all the signed books I could get at BEA! I’m salivating just thinking about my loot. I promise to get some signed for giveaways!

10. I am proud of my book reviews and author interviews. If nothing else, vote for someone who has put her heart and soul into her blog.

Please take the time and vote for my blog in the Independent Book Blogger Awards. My name is Jaime Boler and this is Bookmagnet’s Blog.

Thanks for reading! Voting closes Monday, April 23, at 11:59pm ET. Vote now.


Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!



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Christopher Bollen Knows How To Set The Mood

Christopher Bollen, Lightning People (Soft Skull Press; 368 pages; $25).


            Despite what many readers think, debut novels are not easy to write.  Common mistakes freshman authors make run the gamut from implausible storylines to stock characters to awkward dialogue to clumsy organization.  A good editor helps, but often a first-time novelist either has that certain something or he does not.  That kind of talent cannot be taught; it is innate.  Christopher Bollen proves with his debut novel Lightning People that he has that magic and then some.


Setting is not everything, but place ranks high on this reviewer’s list of what can turn a good book into a great one.  Bollen lives in New York City; thus, he knows the city well and it shows.  From the very first page, Bollen knows how to set the mood.


Bollen opens his novel with a very real phenomenon: lightning strikes.  Through his protagonist, Joseph Guiteau, Bollen writes, “The Manhattan skyline has changed since I moved here from Cincinnati at the age of eighteen.  What no one seems willing to mention is that before the World Trade Center fell, lightning rarely struck any parts of Manhattan other than the towers themselves….”

To read more of this article, please go here.

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From Manolo to Gitmo

From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry (Viking; 302 pages; $26.95).


In Alex Gilvarry’s first novel From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, his main character, Boyet Hernandez, is accused of terrorism and thrown into Guantánamo Bay.  The kicker is that Boy is a fashion designer from the Philippines who loves America and would never even hurt a fly.  Gilvarry uses irony and absurdity in his timely debut, while at the same time he shows the injustice of detaining and imprisoning many so-called “enemy” combatants who are anything but. Everything leads up to the “Overwhelming Event,” when government officials burst into his apartment in the middle of the night.

For the first 274 pages, Boy presents us a memoir of his time in New York City, the capital of the fashion world, and how he became a prisoner at Gitmo.   Boy, though, assures us he would never “raise a hand in anger against America.”  He loves America, “the golden bastard.”  It is, he surmises, where he is born again, “propelled through the duct of JFK International, out the rotating doors, push, push, dripping a post-U.S. Customs sweat” down his back, and “slithering out” on his feet on a curb in Queens.  Even after he is unfairly imprisoned, Boy still loves America and Americans: “And even after the torment they’ve put me through—tossing me into this little cell in No Man’s Land—would you believe that I still hold America close to my heart?”

Gilvarry gives us wonderful foreshadowing when Boy arrives in New York on September 13, 2002, exactly one year and two days after the 9/11 terrorist attack.  Boy seeks out the Statue of Liberty, that New York landmark symbolic of freedom for all.  His spirits slump when he sees “she was in mourning.”  A “black veil” covers the face of Lady Liberty.  The Statue of Liberty is undergoing restoration at the time of Boy’s arrival and is closed.  Therefore, Boy does not see her in all her glory.  She does not welcome him as he thinks she will.  This does not bode well for Boy.

More than anything in the world, Boy wants to become a great fashion designer.  He admires Coco Chanel and is a little jealous of Philip Tang, his rival back in fashion school in the Philippines who has made quite a name for himself in fashion.  Boy’s problem is that he has little money.  He meets a man in the same building he lives in, Ahmed Qureshi, who tells Boy that he is from Canada.  Qureshi asks Boy to make two suits for him; Qureshi likes the suits so much that he offers to provide Boy the capital he needs to start his own business: (B)oy.  Of course, Boy accepts.  Ultimately, Boy succeeds; his business thrives and anybody who is anyone wants to wear his clothes.

Gilvarry shows us the innocence of Boy, even in a city like New York.  Boy does not question where Qureshi gets his money.  When Qureshi obviously makes things up to explain away his business ventures, Boy accepts.  Boy desperately needs the money, you see, and how Qureshi gets it is of little interest to him.

One day, Boy goes to Qureshi’s.  He needs yet more money because Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman order a new line.  Qureshi has bags and bags of fertilizer in his apartment.  This would certainly tip me off, but not Boy.  It is almost comical how he does not see what is right under his nose.  Boy explains, “Now from the perspective of an innocent man—my perspective—there was nothing too unusual about this.  Ahmed always had things in bulk coming and going.”

Imagine Boy’s surprise when Qureshi is picked up for being an arms dealer!  But Gilvarry takes it even further.  Qureshi tries to save himself.  He is not a terrorist, he is not planning on blowing up America, oh no. Qureshi instead accuses Boy and tells the government that Boy is behind it all.  Qureshi claims Boy is masquerading as a fashion designer so he can blow up everyone during Fashion Week.  That Boy’s publicist is named Ben Laden does not help matters either.

And so it happens–in the middle of the night, government officials come for Boy.  They put a black bag over his head and do not ask questions.  Within just a few days, authorities have Boy in prison in No Man’s Land in Gitmo.  His cries of innocence fall on deaf ears.  His captors are convinced that Boy is lying and is, in fact, the mastermind of a proposed terrorist plot.  There is a lot of hilarity here, especially when Boy’s ex writes a play about him, starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

If the plot sounds absurd to you, that is the point.  The story is absurd and mirrors our recent history when this very thing occurred.  Gilvarry may write with irreverence but he also makes a statement, and a very strong one at that.  His use of satire works well here.  Boy, a diminutive fashion designer from the Philippines, who loves America, a terrorist?  The premise is almost laughable, but, in Gilvarry’s hands, it becomes more than simple comedy.  Boy symbolizes those non-enemy combatants thrown into prison and left there unjustly and without cause.  Gilvarry is not ridiculing the War on Terror; instead, he shows us how foolish our own government is to hunt down people like Boy when real terrorists run around freely.

Because Gilvarry structures his novel as a memoir, the book has all the elements of a real memoir: an introduction, footnotes, and an afterword.  Boy’s voice stops at page 274, and Gil Johannessen’s takes over.  Johannessen is the editor of Boy’s book.  I find I do not like the end of the book.  I miss Boy’s distinctive voice.  I do not know Johannessen; I do not trust him like I trust Boy; I do not connect with him like I connect with Boy.

Johannessen tells the rest of Boy’s story.  I wish Gilvarry had not chosen to end like this.  In the afterword, Boy has changed.  He has returned to Manila and is cross-dressing in an attempt to confuse anyone who might be following him.  Boy has been through a lot, and Gilvarry shows us how paranoid and afraid Boy has become.  He is not the same man who cut off the sleeves of his orange jumpsuit to make it more fashionable.

Although I do not care for the end, it does nothing to dampen my spirit for this timely debut.  Gilvarry proves he is an up-and-coming author with From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant.


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