So it's my first time to participate in Book Talk Tuesday, and I'm excited! For other great book talks, please visit The Lemme Library.
So it's the end of the 60's, Doug has just moved to "stupid Marysville" in upstate New York, and he's got all sorts of personal things to deal with in the midst of the Vietnam war and impending moonshot.
There are so many things I could say about this novel. But I really REALLY want you to read it for yourself, because it is an EXPERIENCE. So I'm just going to tell you some of my general reactions:
Deep, layered story.
My writer-radar was pinging away as Schmidt did a brilliant job of witholding information to the last possible moment...
and it's such an emotion-generating book without being overtly emotional.
Also, the characters: you think you know them, then the more you find out about them, you realize you had it all wrong. Just like in real life... I mean, come on, the set-up here is AMAZING.
And okay, I'm a sucker for birds. I disagree wholeheartedly with the premise here -- "a thing belongs in its assigned set" so Doug wants to return all the plates to the original Birds of America -- but I love how far Schmidt takes the bird metaphors. It made me want to write a whole series of poems based on these birds... and I just might.
Meanwhile, I am kicking myself for not attending Schmidt's talk at Kay B. Kaigler Conference in April. (It wasn't like I had a choice - I was hemmed in by a school visit and had to drive to Hattiesburg SOMETIME -- but doggone it, I would have loved hearing him talk about writing this particular book.)
Seriously: GO READ. BRILIANT. And big shout out to my dear friend Pat Weaver who sent me a copy. SO SWEET. Now I'm listening to an audio version.... fantastic!
For a more detailed review please visit Betsy Bird at Fuse #8.
Look for this one during awards season! But read it NOW. Seriously. Don't wait. I've got it on my nightstand ready for another go. And for another more detailed review, please visit a Flashlight Reader. Congratulations, Sheila, on a beautiful debut!