Welcome to the first Book Java blog where each Tuesday I discuss all things…Books!
A while ago I read a novel entitled, “Reconstructing Amelia,” written by Kimberly McCreight. It is the story of a 15 year old girl who tragically died by falling off the roof of her high school. Her mother, workaholic lawyer Kate, is grieving and has been told by everyone that her daughter committed suicide. Kate, not 100% convinced but coping, is then sent an anonymous text simply stating, “Amelia didn’t jump.” After that, the novel volleys between 1st person Amelia to 3rd person Kate as the reader learns the events leading up to Amelia’s death while Kate investigates the cryptic text and subsequently realizes that Amelia’s life was more complex than she had ever imagined.
This is the only book, so far, that has made me cry after reading it. I’ve often said that I think it should be a required reading for freshman high school students.
There are so many books I’ve read that just stay with me, affect me somehow, whether it’s a comedy, romance, or mainstream drama. It got me thinking about the game-changer book that inspired me to completely commit to becoming a bona fide writer. We writers all have one, the one book that made us feel so enraptured we thought we’d try our hand at the magic.
For me, that book was E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey (and before you think to click the “x” button at the top right of this page, hear me out J). First, let me say I have been reading books since forever; all genres. I have been writing for about four years, at first a small hobby I piddled around with after long days at work. I joined a writers group at my local Barnes and Noble store just to see how this whole thing works. Meet other people with the same interest and perhaps take this small hobby into something bigger.
You might ask, Well if you’ve been writing for 4 years, Fifty shades came out about two years ago, weren’t you inspired before then? The answer is yes…and no.
And here’s why I say this…
What I took from Fifty was the intense emotional pull between the hero and heroine. It was what I was writing about but only half-heartedly at the time. I remember thinking at one point that nobody would want to read about two people who can’t get it right; fall in love already and move on. Well, there’s a lot of journey that goes into that happily ever after and sometimes it’s dark, intense, complex, humorous and gritty. I was afraid to go there, afraid to put things on the line with my writing until this story.
Yes, I know all the negative blowback from the series was intense but I saw deeper into the narration and although there were some definite issues, in my opinion, I admired her bravery for putting it all out there, for writing a story about love despite what might have come afterwards.
Let’s start the discussion. What was your game-changer book and why?