Sunday, August 06, 2006

BOM: The Novelist, results and reader reaction

Most reviews of THE NOVELIST have been encouraging. But occasionally I get one like this one, which I found on Amazon:

"Everyone says this book is so good but I struggled and struggled and finally gave up. Maybe I missed a great ending but I'll never know. I though the whole story was a bit weird!"

The reviewers I respect the most, however, (PW and Library Journal), had this to say:

From Publishers Weekly:

In a novel her publisher is touting as "a glimpse into her own life," Hunt,
a grandmother and prolific writer (more than 70 books), pens a novel about a
prolific writer and grandmother. Jordan Casey is the pen name for Jordan Casey
Kerrigan, grandmother and author of a bestselling adventure series. She agrees
to teach a college night class on writing fiction and is challenged by an
irksome student to ditch her formulaic approach and try writing something from
the heart. Stung by the criticism, Kerrigan turns down a lucrative contract for
another adventure novel and writes an allegory of paradise, sin, the fall and
redemption as played out in an otherworldly casino. As she writes, her desire to
change her 21-year-old son Zachary's chaotic life as a suicidal addict becomes
an impetus for a story she wants to communicate about life, loss and second
chances (told alongside mother and son's actual plight). God, she believes, is
the ultimate writer, complete with an outline for one's life story—yet even the
characters in the hands of a novelist have choices. Jordan's reality and fiction
alternate and finally converge as Hunt spins her tale, with flashbacks to
Zachary's innocent childhood that are guaranteed to wring tears from even the
hardest-hearted reader. Although Hunt is known for her competency, this novel
also shows poignancy and imagination. (Jan.) Copyright © Reed Business
Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I have also received letters from readers like this one:

And kudos to you for using bipolar disorder as a trait for one of your characters. As one who has suffered with the disorder my entire life (40+), yours is the first novel (The Novelist) that I have ever read that uses bipolar as a trait rather than the central theme of the story. Zack could have easily suffered from any other type of disorder or addiction, yet you portrayed him as bipolar. Thus, you have helped to "break the silence" regarding an illness that is so often misunderstood. Many thanks and blessings.

And this one:

Yesterday my husband was so depressed...we've been going through a very tough time the last few months and yesterday was one of the harder days we've tackled. I quoted to him "I know the plans I have for you....good and not evil...future and a hope" and "In our weakness, He is strong" and how he needs to give himself credit for being stronger than he thinks he is...and how God knows his strength and won't give him more than he can bear but I believe it's more than he thinks....etc etc. Anyway, last night as I was reading the last few chapters of the Novelist, you QUOTE back to me...almost exactly everything I told Joe...even the same scriptures! I, of course, read it aloud to Joe. It's neat how God goes out of His way to confirm things to us...and neat how God uses your writing again and again.

So even though THE NOVELIST is not everyone's cup of tea, I am glad the Lord led me to write it as he did. Like so many things in life, it wasn't easy . . . but it was worth it.

Tomorow: your questions and answers. You can post them below. ~~Angie

3 comments:

Accidental Poet said...

I really enjoyed it, Angie. Thinking about the writer behind the words, I very much enjoyed the feeling of "well I wonder if I could ..." behind the premise.

Tricia Goyer said...

Angie, again just proof that we can't win 'em all . . . or even make them like our stories. But, alas, there are those who get a glimpse of our heart in the pages, and that makes it worth it. (And helps ease the sting against the bad reviews too!)

Cindy said...

Angela, "The Novelist" was the book I chose to read on my recent flight to Texas and during my vacation. I couldn't disagree more with the reader who "struggled" with it...I found it absorbing and intriguing. Did the reader not get it...that the "Paradise" part of the story is an allegory? Hello!

Wonderful book. I passed it along to my sister, with my wholehearted recommendation.