An Undeniable Spark Between An Unlikely Twosome Creates Serious Heat In The Play, Burn This by Lanford Wilson

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My Review:

In anticipation of the Broadway production of Burn This starring Adam Driver and Keri Russell, I chose to familiarize myself with this emotional story of loss and love, and I am so glad I did!  In the late 1980s, in NYC, a female dancer, Anna, along with her gay roommate, Larry and her rich screenwriter boyfriend, Burton, are together mourning the loss of a friend, Robbie.  The deceased’s brother, Pale, shows up and looks to Anna to learn more about his younger sibling’s recent past, and amidst overwhelming emotions of grief, a physical relationship develops.  Anna ad Pale’s chemistry is undeniable and their relationship grows.  The connection is evident, but timing is not right and she denies them both the opportunity to continue by shutting him out.  To combat the pain of loss, Anna devotes herself to her work as a choreographer, developing a dance that represents this relationship she has turned her back on. 

Thank you to Lanford Wilson, the playwright, for giving Anna’s roommate, Larry, the understanding of the depth of her feelings for Pale…Larry sets them up to be alone in the apartment together without either of them knowing… and it was just what they both needed. I expect this play to be powerful and steamy.  The original cast in 1987 included Joan Allen and John Malkovich, and I think the current cast with Keri Russell and Adam Driver will have equal success.  I cannot wait to see the limited engagement, Broadway production at the Hudson Theatre in May!  

Interview with playwright Lanford Wilson about the writing of the play Burn This.

Goodreads Summary

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About the Playwright:

Lanford Wilson was born in Lebanon, Missouri on April 13, 1937 and died March 24, 2011.  He was an American playwright, considered one of the founders of the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980, was elected in 2001 to the Theater Hall of Fame, and in 2004 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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An Eye-Opening Story of Poverty in America…Heartland by Sarah Smarsh

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My Review:

It is possible that I have overdosed on stories about indigence and the cultural divide, so for me, Sarah Smarsh’s message was strong yet her story felt repetitive.  Smarsh tells us about her family and how their extreme poverty lead to generations of teenaged pregnancies,  drinking, abuse, lack of education, bad or absent parenting, and all the while her family worked hard to live.  We learn everything through the author talking to her unborn child – in my opinion, an unnecessary addition to this memoir which forces us to reevaluate how we look at our country’s class structure, often based on earnings.

According to the author, the government doesn’t even recognize the people who are below the poverty line. She says, “In college, I began to understand the depth of the rift that is economic inequality.” With self awareness and recognition of her past, Sarah broke the chain that was passed down through the generations of her family as she chose to avoid teenage pregnancy, and as of now, parenthood altogether.

Reminiscent of Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance, and inclusive of some elements of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond and Educated by Tara Westover, Sarah Smarsh’s story felt like more of the same but is worthy if you can’t get enough!

Goodreads Summary

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About the author:

Journalist Sarah Smarsh has covered socioeconomic class, politics, and public policy for The Guardian, The New York Times, NewYorker.com, Harpers.org, Longreads, Pacific Standard and many others. A native of rural Kansas, Smarsh is a frequent speaker and commentator on economic inequality and the news media. She lives in Kansas.

1980s Chicago and the AIDs Crisis – 2015 Paris terrorism and cults. An incredibly moving story of friendships and loss. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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My Review:

Chicago is the third largest city in the US and we rarely associate it with the AIDs epidemic, yet, the city and its people were deeply impacted by the then mysterious and untreatable, deadly disease.  Rebecca Makkai set the story, The Great Believers  in her beloved hometown and takes us through overwhelmingly emotional times as we witness deep friendships, brotherly camaraderie, romantic and platonic love, unwavering support and devastating depression and loss.

It is 1985 Chicago, and Yale Tishman, the Director of Development at the new art gallery at Northwestern University is working on an exciting and valuable acquisition.  His career in the art world is taking off at the same time AIDs has reared its’ ugly head and sadly, Yale loses his best friend Nico. Then, one after another his other friends and acquaintances are getting sick and dying. Yale tries to be a good friend to others as he grapples with his life and this dangerous disease that is making his social circle smaller and smaller.  Nico’s loyal younger sister, Fiona is all he has left of his tight little community and they both struggle with the fears they face and the losses they have experienced.

Author Rebecca Makkai alternates back and forth in time and jumping ahead, in 2015, Fiona goes to Paris in search of her daughter, who has run away and joined a cult.   Their relationship is estranged and at best strained.  During her search, Fiona stays with an artistic friend from her youth who has documented the 1980s AIDs crisis through art and has a show scheduled in Paris during her stay.  Time in France gives Fiona opportunity to try and deal with the trauma of her past, the loss of her brother and his friends, and understand how it has affected her relationship with her daughter.

Makkai has developed complete and complex characters that I feel like I know and truly care about.  Her writing evokes overwhelming emotion and I love how the two time periods are weaved together through her compelling storytelling.  Some people compare this book to A Little Life, and yes, both are gut wrenching and sad, but in The Great Believers there is a well researched overview of Chicago history and AIDs in the 1980s, a window into the art world, terrorism in 2015 Paris, so much love, friendship and family…a much warmer novel that combines the burden of memories with hope and positivity.  I highly recommend this book – great for book clubs!

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About the author:

 

Rebecca Makkai’s first story, at the age of three, was printed on the side of a cardboard box and told from the viewpoint of her stuffed Smurf doll. Sadly, her fiction has never since reached such heights of experimentalism.

Rebecca holds an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and a BA from Washington and Lee University. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her short fiction has been anthologized in The Pushcart Prize XLI (2017), The Best American Short Stories 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 and 2009, New Stories from the Midwest and Best American Fantasy, and featured on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and This American Life.

Rebecca has two young daughters. She does not run marathons or do cartwheels, but she does know how to make marshmallows. She was an elementary Montessori teacher for the twelve years before the publication of her first book.

Her first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and an O Magazine selection.

Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is the story of a haunted house and a haunted family, told in reverse; Library Journal called it “stunning, ambitious, readable and intriguing.” It was chosen as the Chicago Writers Association’s novel of the year, and received raves in The New York Times Book Review and elsewhere.

Her short story collection, Music for Wartime, appeared in July, 2015.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

 

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My Review:

Four children from a Jewish family on the lower east side of Manhattan visit a psychic in the summer of 1969 and are told the date they will die.  Does this information, this prediction, change the way they choose to live?  That question is left unanswered in The Immortalists, as we follow each of the siblings’ lives.   Author Chloe Benjamin provides us with a mesmerizing story of these rich characters, and their choices about how to live.  Simon, the youngest brother, moves to California to live his truth and gets caught up in the reckless ’80s sexual revolution.  His journey out west begins with his sister Klara, who is irresponsible in many ways and chooses to become a magician.  Daniel, the oldest brother is conflicted at work; he is a doctor in the army and must give clearance to young men, less fortunate than he. to serve in the military.  And Vanya is involved in anti-aging research, as she reduces caloric intake of primates to extend their lives.  We witness the strengthening and deterioration of relationships and we hope things will turn out ok, but do they?  Throughout the book I couldn’t help but question if the characters’ choices were made because of the knowledge they received regarding their death.

Another question to think about is:  quality or quantity…do you want to live a long time or live well during the time you have?  Would you want to know the date of your own death?

Some of what Chloe Benjamin writes about is based on her own knowledge and experiences; she grew up in California in the 80s, with a gay parent, a Jewish parent, and immigrant grandparents.  She was a ballet dancer and her mother was an actor…all of which influenced the setting and characters.  She also did massive research to learn about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military, primate research, magicians and magic.  The narrative was rich with information and I really enjoyed the format, each section written about a different character.

The Immortalists, for me, was a lesson about embracing life and trying not to worry about the unknown.  It is a balance, like science and religion, to navigate our lives by making choices based on what we know to be true and what we believe is true.  I highly recommend this book!

As seen on Goodreads:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

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About the Author:

Chloe Benjamin is the author of THE IMMORTALISTS, a New York Times Bestseller, #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2018, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, #1 Library Reads pick, and Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Her first novel, THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS (Atria, 2014), received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Her novels have been translated into over twenty-three languages. A graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin, Chloe lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

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My Review:

If you love the 80s, music, tradition, England and love, you will want to read The Music Shop right away!  Frank had an odd childhood; growing up he called his single mother by her first name and, the only thing his not so nurturing, nontraditional mom ever taught him about was music.  Now, a single man outside of London, Frank owns a small music shop on a run down street.  He only sells vinyl records; refuses to keep up with the times and offer cds or even cassette tapes.  He has given up on the possibility for love and seems content in his role in life as a music expert. Frank matches customers and friends to songs he thinks they need to know.  He is quirky and old fashioned, but likable and has a reputation for being a good man and helping lots of people.

One day a beautiful, mysterious woman shows up at his shop
Continue reading

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

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My Review:

I really enjoyed this short but dense book, The Red-Haired Woman written by Turkish Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk.  In the 1980s, a teenage, fatherless boy is an apprentice to Master Mahmut, a well digger.  They dig for water in the hot sun, and tell stories to pass the time.  They develop a tight relationship and grow to rely on each other as co-workers and as father and son.  One evening the boy observes a beautiful red haired woman twice his age and daydreams about her to get through the difficult days of work.  She is an actress in a traveling theater production and he becomes overwhelmed with desire to see her in the play and meet her.  Then there is an accident and we don’t know what happens to Mahmut.  The boy leaves town and we are not sure who the red-haired woman really is.  The characters connections to one another and the mysteries make this novel a fantastic page turner.

Through stories told to the boy by Master Mahmut, ideas about fathers and sons are explored with references to Oedipus Rex, where a son kills his father and has children with his mother, and Rostam and Sohrab, where the father kills his son. I had to do some googling to fully understand the references, but I like to learn something when I read and this story was captivating.  Love, loss and relationships are touched upon in The Red-Haired Woman, giving the reader a lot to think about, and so well written with a few shockers and surprises.  I loved how myths and real life paralleled each other and I highly recommend this book!

 

As seen on Goodreads:

On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul, a master well-digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating without luck metre by metre, the two will develop a filial bond neither has known before–not the poor middle-aged bachelor nor the middle-class boy whose father disappeared after being arrested for politically subversive activities. The pair will come to depend on each other, and exchange stories reflecting disparate views of the world. But in the nearby town, where they buy provisions and take their evening break, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre company, catches his eye and seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. The young man’s wildest dream will be realized, but, when in his distraction a horrible accident befalls the well-digger, the boy will flee, returning to Istanbul. Only years later will he discover whether he was in fact responsible for his master’s death and who the red-headed enchantress was.
A beguiling mystery tale of family and romance, of east and west, tradition and modernity, by one of the great storytellers of our time.

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About the Author:

Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a large family similar to those which he describes in his novels Cevdet Bey and His Sons and The Black Book, in the wealthy westernised district of Nisantasi. As he writes in his autobiographical book Istanbul, from his childhood until the age of 22 he devoted himself largely to painting and dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating from the secular American Robert College in Istanbul, he studied architecture at Istanbul Technical University for three years, but abandoned the course when he gave up his ambition to become an architect and artist. He went on to graduate in journalism from Istanbul University, but never worked as a journalist. At the age of 23 Pamuk decided to become a novelist, and giving up everything else retreated into his flat and began to write.

Orhan Pamuk’s books have been translated into 63 languages, including Georgian, Malayan, Czech, Danish, Japanese, Catalan, as well as English, German and French. Pamuk has been awarded The Peace Prize, considered the most prestigious award in Germany in the field of culture, in 2005. In the same year, Snow received the Le Prix Médicis étranger, the award for the best foreign novel in France. Again in 2005, Pamuk was honoured with the Richarda Huck Prize, awarded every three years since 1978 to personalities who “think independently and act bravely.” In the same year, he was named among world’s 100 intellectuals by Prospect magazine. In 2006, TIME magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential persons of the world. In September 2006, he won the Le Prix Méditerranée étranger for his novel Snow. Pamuk is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, and holds an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University. Pamuk gives lectures once a year at Columbia University. He received the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the second youngest person to receive the award in its history. In 2014, Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence received the European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) given by European Museum Forum in Tallinn, Estonia. In the same year Pamuk also received Helena Vaz Da Silva European Award, an award which “acknowledges exceptional contributions to the communication on cultural heritage and European ideals”. In 2015, he received two significant prizes in Turkey for his ninght novel, A Strangeness in My Mind: Aydın Doğan Foundation Award and Erdal Öz Literary Prize. In 2016 Orhan Pamuk receives The Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award (from the Museum and Estate of Leo Tolstoy) for “Foreign Literature” category with his novel A Strangeness in my Mind.

Orhan Pamuk’s tenth novel, The Red-Haired Woman  (2016) is the story of a well-digger and his apprentice looking for water on barren land. It is also a novel of ideas in the tradition of the French conte philosophique.

Apart from three years in New York, Orhan Pamuk has spent all his life in the same streets and district of Istanbul, and he now lives in the building where he was raised. Pamuk has been writing novels for 40 years and never done any other job except writing.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire

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My Review:

The more I think about this novel, the more I love White Fur.  It’s the 1980s and Elise, a school dropout and recently homeless young girl is living in New Haven with a friend she met on the street.  Jamey is one of the white, privileged and wealthy guys in the apartment next door; the longtime buddies are students at Yale and everything material has been given to them on a silver platter.  The unlikely attraction between Elise and Jamey is powerful, lustful and trepidatious on Jamey’s part, as Elise is from low-class, poor, unsophisticated stock, and although she has big love for her family and knows what she wants out of life, his fancy and pretentious family and trust fund friends would not be receptive.  Their quirky relationship starts out behind closed doors, mostly confidential and strictly sexual in nature, and as their mysterious attraction builds they slowly become a couple.

Elise, always clad in her white fur coat, something she acquired in a trade on the streets, loves Jamey for who he is and not for the money.  Jamey becomes whole as he blossoms under the devotion of Elise and her unconditional love for him; his upscale life has proven money can’t buy you love, and he gives up his fortune to be with his girl.  They spend the summer together; the bright lights and the dark alleys, the lust and grime of  1980s NYC come alive when they move there for Jamey’s summer internship and between sexual escapades, experiences with new friends, evidence of white privilege and being on the receiving end of relentless judgement, they stick together and in the process he saves her from a life of being alone and she saves him from a meaningless existence of wealth with shallow relationships.

Beautifully written with some shock value and sprinkled with description that triggered memories of my own time in NYC (not the raunchy parts, more like the mention of Dorrian’s on the upper east side!), Jardaine Libaire tells the story of a girl who is neither white nor black who does not identify with any group and a boy who challenges the expectations of his family all in the name of love.  One the outside, Elise appears to be a lost soul, but she is solid and in touch with her wants and needs while Jamey looks the part of a successful, young, wealthy well-adjusted guy yet he is broken and unsure of who he is.  Author Jardine Libaire’s story causes you tho think about what is truly important in life and relationships and the meaning and importance of family.  As much as Elise and Jamey were addicted to each other, I was addicted to White Fur!  A wonderful and unique story of love with a crazy and unexpected ending!

As seen on Goodreads:

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school. Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. The attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love but also for their lives.

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About the Author, Jardine Libaire:

I’m a fiend for books, bookstores, lit journals, found poetry, libraries, graffiti, artist books, diaries, screenplays—anything that tells a story. My MFA is from Michigan, which is a dearly beloved program. For the last ten years, I’ve been living in Austin, TX, a city that is very sweet + kind to artists 😉 Over the decades, I’ve worked as a motel chambermaid, real estate agent, dishwasher, bartender, assistant to a perfume designer, art model, copywriter, grantwriter, and restaurant manager. I worship at the feet of Willa Cather. Every Thursday evening, I facilitate a storytelling class at the Lockhart Women’s Prison here in Texas, and I’ve learned more about life from the women in the class than I have taught them, I’m quite sure. Right now I’m working on a new book about a cheetah and a deaf teenager.

William S. Burroughs said: ‘Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside.’ And Dolly Parton said: ‘I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable.’ And Oscar Wilde said: ‘It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.’ I love them all! xo

The Address by Fiona Davis plus author interview!

 

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My Review:

Last year, author Fiona Davis published her wonderful debut, The Dollhouse, rich in history about the Barbizon Hotel in NYC. Keeping with iconic Manhattan landmarks, her fabulous new release, The Address is set in alternating timelines; in the late 1800s during the building of the Dakota, the architecturally stunning residence on the upper west side of Manhattan, Sara, a housekeeper at a fancy London hotel meets Theo, the talented NYC architect, takes a job at the newly built Dakota, and craziness ensues. Their budding relationship remains hidden from his wife and children as they bond, it turns passionate and a crime is committed. In 1985, fresh out of rehab and penniless, designer Bailey, a descendant of the wealthy Dakota architect, without genetic proof, is not in line for the healthy inheritance.  Her cousin, Melinda, set to take over the family riches, hires her to orchestrate the renovation of the building and Bailey learns of her architect relative’s murder by a crazy lady named Sara.  And so the two compelling stories come together with rich historic detail and wonderfully creative characters, revealing the secrets from inside the unique and wonderful Dakota.
I had a chance to connect with the lovely Fiona Davis and ask her a few questions about her new and successful career as an author.

 
What has been the high point in your writing journey from the release of The Dollhouse to now?  From your first public book talk to a People Magazine feature, you have accomplished so much in such a short time!
I have to say, the first book talk for The Dollhouse seemed so scary! It was at a library in Westport, CT and there were more people than I expected to show up for a debut author. My knees were definitely knocking. But I loved every minute of it, especially answering questions after the reading. Now I adore doing Q&As and book talks, and I think those are my high points. The readers are so knowledgeable and inquisitive and their support has been amazing.

What are you reading now and what do you recommend for the summer?

I’m currently reading Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, and next up is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. I’d recommend Eve Chase’s The Wildling Sisters, Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer as great vacation/beach reads.

Can you tell me a little about what you are working on now?

The next book is a similar structure, two times periods with a connecting mystery, set in Grand Central Terminal, and I’m having such a good time researching and writing it. I won’t give away too much, but I will say I’ve learned some really surprising things about the building that I can’t wait to share with readers.

Are you developing a “formula” or pattern you use for writing? 

I do love setting books in architectural landmarks and using dual time periods, so I definitely have a trend going on there. Once the Grand Central book is done, I’ll start thinking about other locales and possibly structures, but so far I’ve been having the time of my life. The pattern for each book, even though it’s similar, is incredibly challenging and rewarding.

I am now officially excited for the new book, I loved The Dollhouse, and I highly recommend the Fiona Davis’ new release.  With two connected stories, old New York, ornate architecture, an illicit affair, an illegitimate child, an insane asylum, and the beautiful Dakota on the upper west side, The Address is a perfect mix of history and mystery, fast pace and fun.

As seen on Goodreads:

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility–no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda–Camden’s biological great-granddaughter–will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages–for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City–and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich–and often tragic–as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden–and the woman who killed him–on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives –and lies–of the beating hearts within.

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About the Author:

Fiona Davis is the author of The Dollhouse and The Address. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a masters at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Visit her at www.fionadavis.net, facebook.com/FionaDavisAuthor/ and on Instagram and Twitter @fionajdavis.

NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW by Maggie Kneip

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As stated in Goodreads:

After a fairy-tale courtship in 1980s New York City, Maggie’s young marriage shatters when her “perfect” husband–a star editor at The Wall Street Journal–is diagnosed with and dies of AIDS, leaving her with two young children in a city electrified by paranoia about the new epidemic. Devastated by his betrayal, Maggie struggles to protect herself and her children from stigma, keeping the circumstances of her husband’s death a secret for nearly twenty-five years. It is only when a journey of self-discovery aligns with her children’s coming of age and a new world of sexual tolerance that she can finally embrace the truth and set herself free.

With a foreword by former Wall Street Journal editor Laura Landro and an afterword by psychologist Dr. Dale Atkins, a frequent commentator on NBC’s Today Show, NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW is an honest, unflinching look at the damaging nature of family secrets and an inspiring call to embrace every truth–the good, the bad, the ugly–that makes us who we are.

Tony Goldwyn, Actor and Director says:

“I first met Maggie Kneip when she was 9 months pregnant with her second child. Less than a year later, her husband John would die of AIDS. In the wake of this unspeakable trauma, I watched Maggie bravely, tirelessly rebuild her life and raise two extraordinary kids. Familiar as I was with her story, nothing prepared me for the transcendent power of NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW. Maggie’s unflinchingly honest memoir of loss, grief, and ultimately triumphant self-discovery is a book for anyone affected by the plague of AIDS, anyone who has struggled to process grief and make sense of the bewildering randomness of life and death.”

 

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Author Maggie Kneip (right) appearing with Psychologist Dr. Dale Atkins (left).

Maggie Kneip is a veteran of the publishing industry, with more than two decades in publicity and marketing at Bertelsmann, Scholastic Inc., and Abrams Books.  Often with Dr. Dale Atkins, she visits synagogues, churches, libraries and civic organizations to talk about NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, and the challenge of relationship and family secrets. She has also met with book clubs to talk about NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, coast-to-coast. Maggie has performed as a singer at such Manhattan clubs as the Laurie Beechman Theatre and the Metropolitan Room.  Learn more about her at www.maggiekneip.com.

My thoughts:

Meeting Maggie today, a strong, independent woman with two gorgeous adult children, many interests and talents, involved with her community and lots of friends, one might be shocked when they read about her journey.  Maggie married John in the 1980s; he was the love of her life. Shortly after their second child was born he became ill and after a trip to the hospital and some tests he and Maggie were given the news…he had AIDS and just a short time to live.  No apology and no explanation; no conversations were to be had and no truths were revealed.  And while caring for two babies, taking over the running of the household and the finances, she graciously cared for him until his passing.

The times dictated secrecy due to fear and lack of education and information on the virus.  Maggie was not able to tell anyone what happened to her husband, she had to protect her children, move out of town, avoid the truth and project strength until her kids grew up and society became more sexually tolerant and developed life saving treatments for AIDS.

In this honest, beautifully written memoir, NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW, Maggie opens up and tells her story of love, disappointment, betrayal and secrecy, bringing to light the destruction and damage a secret can inflict on a loved one, a relationship and a family.

Order NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW HERE