Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Know We Have a Lot of Events, but I Still Get Mad When I Miss Some, but a Happy Ending May Lurk Around the Corner...

It's the height of event season and they are coming at me so quickly that my head is spinning. On Tuesday, for example, I ran from our Lauren Oliver talk at the North Shore Library for the publiciation of Liesl & Po (a nice showing--thanks, Beth!) to a meet-the-author dinner in Brookfield for Ayad Akhtar, whose first novel, American Dervish, is coming out in January. You'll be hearing a lot more about Akhtar's novel in the months to come--it's great!

Then Wednesday we had the Florentine Opera, followed by two events today (Thursday) with James Howe at 4 pm and Wendy Call for her book No Word for Welcome at 7 pm.  And Friday (tomorrow) is Michael Pink doing his Dialogue for Dance: Dracula talk at Boswell.  But in the middle of all this planning, I realized that Jason and I would have to drive out to Dearborn, Michigan to get to the GLIBA (Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association) conference in time for Jason to be on the buzz panel at 1 pm.  We talked about leaving at 4 in the morning, but in the end, I just didn't know if we'd make it. So we left on Thursday.

Amie took over for me at the Cudahy Family Library and Stacie took on the Wendy Call event at Boswell. But I was sad, as I do like attending as many author events as possible.  And here's where things got even sadder.  I had started reading James Howe's new novel, Addie on the Inside, part of his Misfits series, beforehand, but decided to finish it on our eight hour car trip.  And...

Boy did I enjoy it!  Addison Carle is a 13-year-old girl, the only female in the gang of Misfits, a tight group of friends who are bullied by the more popular students.  She's dating DuShawn, a popular kid who doesn't seem to care that's she talks up in class and she hasn't developd as fully as her fellow female students.  That said, the relationship shows a lot of strains, and they break up a lot.

Her best friend is Joe, whose story was told more fully in Totally Joe.  In support of Joe, Addie has formed a great-straight alliance.  She gets a lot of grief for this, but nevertheless organizes a Day of Silence in support of bullied LGBT kids.  Some teachers love her, but others would simply classify her as a nemesis.

She's got other loves too--her two cats Kennedy and Johnson, her grandmother, and there's even her childhood friend Becca.  But Becca moved away when she was four and now that she's moved back, she seems to be a mean girl wannabe.

But the thing is about Addie on the Inside is that the whole story is told in verse.  There are couplets and quatrains and haiku and free verse and lots of poetry forms I don't know the names of.  I was a math major, you know.

Here's a fun one, the first few stanzas of "The Omigod Chorus, or What I Have to Listen to Every Single Day."

"Omigod, did you know?
    Omigod, I hate him so!
Omigod, I love your dress!
    Omigod, your hair's a mess!

"Omigod, like like like like...
   Omigod, she's such a dyke!
Omigod, he's such a fag!
    Omigod, I love your bag!

"Omigod, does this school bite!
    Omigod, I know, right?
Omigod, I need to shop!
    Omigod, I love that top!"

And so forth. The story is happy and sad, fun and serious, whistful and hopeful.  I'm told the series is the inspiration for No Name-Calling Week. But sadly, I didn't get to attend the wonderful event in Cudahy (nice job, Heather, with 75 attendees!)  One of the reason we put James Howe at Cudahy was because he needed to get on a plane, bound for...

GLIBA!  And yes, he is one of the guest speakers at tomorrow's lunch.  So at least for my reading experience of Addie on the Inside, the story has a happy ending.

P.S. Bunnicula!

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