Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sox Knocker Saturday: LIES WE TELL OURSELVES

I recently had lunch with an estimable editor of YA fiction. We bonded over meatloaf.

He said "I like books that tug on your heartstrings."  I knew exactly what he meant. Books so vivid and compelling they stay with you for years. Books you can quote from to your friends who love it too.

Estimable Editor gave me a copy of LIES WE TELL OURSELVES.

I thought I'd dip in on the way home.

Here's the first line:

"The white people were waiting for us."
And if that doesn't send a chill down your spine, you didn't live through integration. Or Boston bussing. Or when Ryan White tried to go to school.

I kept reading. Here's the second page of the book, in the first person POV of one of the two main characters, Sarah.

I close my eyes, take a long breath, and recite in my clearest voice. "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want."

Ruth joins in. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters."

Then all ten of us, in the same breath. "He restoreth my soul."

I was overwhelmed reading this, knowing that real kids, children really, were asked to be this brave, and they WERE. They walked past all those people shouting terrible things, armed only with prayer.

My sox were long gone.

You can order this book now, it doesn't get pubbed till September (sorry about that.)

It's a pick for the YA Buzz Panel at BEA this year.

I have a feeling it's going to be on my list of Sox Knockers for 2014.

What knocked your sox off this week?


french sojourn said...

Reading your post choked me up. What a sad experience, but wonderfully couched in it's telling.

A brilliant example of setting up an experience.

Cheers Hank

Lance said...

We're ordering the book. I drove from Atlanta to Biloxi to Savannah and back to Atlanta last week listening to James Lee Burke's Rain Gods narrated by Tom Stechschulte. Incredible.

William Plante said...

As powerful as it gets, inspiring.

Susan Bonifant said...

I work with teens at our local Boys and Girls Clubs who are trying to qualify for scholarship programs. One, with no money or support from home, resolved to be the first in her family to go to college. She brought her GPA from a 2-something to a 3.8 and started bagging groceries to pay for the SATs and college apps. Last week she was accepted into every single college she applied to.That was it for my socks.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I am checking that one out. My current sox-knocker is by some guy named Steve, he races cars.

The slo-mo description of sliding on the ice while chasing the SUV is un-put-downable, especially for someone who has slid on the ice, uphill, with ditches either side and had to slew it sideways to stop 3 feet from traffic.

Seriously, this Steve dude can write.


Anonymous said...

Jo Ann Beard, THE BOYS OF MY YOUTH, which is a book of short stories and the first line of the first story begins:

"The family vacation. Heat, flies, sand and dirt. My mother sweeps and complains. My father forever baits hooks and untangles lines."

I've never read anything of hers, but just flipping through, the language is simple, but eloquent.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Fifty Shades...knocked my pants off. Not really. I was trying to be funny.

french sojourn said...

Caorlynnewith2Ns...I laughed. Funny!

My soxknocker was going out to dinner with my wife, and after being in France for four years, the music in the restaurant background was a complete Al Green album.

I had to pull my soxup a couple times.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

That's a first line that just grabs you and slaps you.

Stephanie said...

See? This is why you should consider Repping YA. It's not just for kids anymore;)
The last book the knocked my socks off was Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian. The extraordinary writing and storytelling made me want to be friends with the characters. I didn't want it to end.

Maple and Baobab said...

Radiance of Tomorrow knocked my sox off this weekend. Another sox knocker is Mighty Miss Malone.

Happy Sunday.

Ashley Whitt said...

I need this book. Just recently I was reading up on The Little Rock Nine after seeing that powerful picture of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan.
I'm still finding it hard to process how young they were.

Matt Entizne said...

My sox continue to be "knocked off" by the irrational & irresponsible judicial system within the state of Oregon. Death Row seems to be a safe haven to practice silence, solitude, & other freedoms such as the right to appeal, the right to a fair trial despite overwhelming evidence the individual is guilty. Anyhow, you asked what knocked the sox off my gargantuan feet this week. So in bold proclamation, I say, Oregon's inability to follow through with the injustice of those who deliberately hurt others knocked & continues to knock my socks off. With all that, I'm barefooted and focused. Peace to all.

Best Regards,

Matt Entizne

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

A YA book that blew me away was Emily Murdoch's IF YOU FIND ME. I read it last year, and I still recall scenes from it.

And my husband recently read Patrick Lee's RUNNER and enjoyed it so much, he's made notes of Lee's other books. Definitely high praise from my husband, who is incredibly picky about how he spends his reading time. :)