Hege’s House with Viviane, Liz, Mary, Shelley, Karen S, Angelika, Katie
& THE AUTHOR: Beverly East
Delish Jamaican-inspired appetizers + Jamaican entree (Bev approved even though she had given up rice for Lent)
– milling about; laughing over the many Carib-flavor salsas we all brought
– Liz has a book club bully @ work who left ‘V for Vengeance’ in her office!
Getting to Know Beverly:
-she turns 60 this year so she’ll do 60 fab things: much classier & upbeat than ‘bucket list’… #60 is 1/2 marathon…also NOT writing anything this year (a break + work/travel schedule is big); did just write a 70 pg personal book for sister’s 70th birthday – it charts her career & lists 70 things she taught Bev
– Bev’s & Shelley’s sons graduating from Penn State; sons don’t know each other
– Hannah (Hege’s girl) is in Newcross, close to Bev’s London house where she grew up…now it’s a rental; Bonus: Bev loves the Oscars…she is a keeper!; Bev did handwriting analysis for company hiring (lots of degrees & training)…wrote a nonfiction book, Finding the Write Man; success begat agent/contracts…next book, Reaper of Souls, actually had been started at age 20; she stopped until she could research & understand Jamaica better…wrote Bat Mitzvah Girl to shoes the happier facets of her upbringing – she was reading The 12 Tribes of Hattie; it is too gruesome/sad…an Oprah pick, of course…& reading Pau by Young about a Chinese-Jamaican; Bev is in 2 book clubs – 1 each USA/Jamaica; Bev opts for book over e-reader
Segue to the Book: Bev’s readers (the seque is the word ‘reader’; I know…it took me a second, too) for Bat Mitzvah Girl were 2 Jewish women & 1 man (strangers) + many Jamaican readers to verify tone, setting, facts
Karen S picked this book because:
1. Her mom hosted Bev’s local book reading, Karen attended & liked
2. She had invited an author last year & liked continuing that Bootleg tradition
We loved the aunties and marveled at mom’s bravery at leaving her girls and her endless creative talent & energy in NYC & Jamaica (later). We cheered the support Bev got from aunties at school. We liked how clearly the setting was rendered in Jamaica (the dust, the light). We feared grandma. Many of us rooted for Bev’s uncle – he found a way to experience salient moments despite his ‘locked down’ lifestyle. And the converstation continued to flow… Yet apparently so did Katie’s cocktails since she lapsed into an island time mentality & stopped taking notes. So…[insert here what you happen to recall we discussed]. Sorry for the lapse. Please be generous with some ‘Jamaica, no problem, Mon’ attitude. Or just opt to give up reading minutes for Lent.
Happy Ending: I do know the discussion ended with boisterous laughter that had something to do with some entity getting ‘nailed by the beagle… the fruit & veggie beagle!’ Silver Lining? These discussion notes are (not) equally helpful/relevant to those of you who could attend & those who could not.
Confession Time: Five of us drove to Hege’s together and we talked about pros and cons of the book on the ride (yes, we broke a rule!). We shared thoughts about editing issues and how the flow & voice seemed to get better in later chapters. Related Info: I did ask Bev about who her editors and pre-readers are. She didn’t say anything related to selecting experts for their skill in attending to literary cohesiveness and flow. She was focused on them giving her feedback on her portrayals of chronology, setting/culture, and attitude. She also mentioned in another context that she has a writing coach…based on her comments I think that coach is more oriented to career development than editorial advice. Finally, I think I understood her to say that some of the time she was trying to write as a young girl would think or speak. I didn’t get that as I read (and others indicated similar) but maybe we were using a different filter as we consumed those sections. She also said she hoped to get this book to a YA audience. Some of think adjustments needed for the YA (US-based) audience & it would be very valuable for them to know her story.
Casting: Bev suggested her friend who stars in “Wonderous Oblivion”
Next Meeting: March 28 @ Kitty’s to discuss Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James. How will Darcy (derring-)do as an action hero/sleuth?