And the winner is . . .
We want to thank all of you who shared your best-friend stories with us. Good friends make life so much sweeter. The winner of our very first giveaway here at Novel Matters is Carla Gade. Thank you, Carla, for being willing to be so transparent. Would you be so kind as to email me here at Novel Matters with your mailing address? You can reach me through the Contacts page.
And then there were six . . .
You might have noticed that Jennifer Valent's lovely photograph is missing from our sidebar. Well, that's because Jennifer has resigned her position here at Novel Matters. Her incredible debut novel, Fireflies in December, was just released, and with the responsibilities of promoting it along with writing the sequel, and keeping her other blog and website current, Jennifer is one busy lady. We wish her great success with her book. To keep up with Jennifer, visit her website http://www.jennifervalent.com/Now back to The Age at Which We Read . . .
I first read Carson McCullers' amazing debut novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, my junior year of high school, having come through a painful year of upheaval my sophomore year. My lit teacher was a newly-credentialed, nice-looking guy barely older than the students he taught. With him at the head of the class I think we girls could have found the likes of Gunga Din romantic. But the Heart is a Lonely Hunter genuinely was romantic to me, maybe because I so deeply related to young Mick Kelly, a girl whose life was so not what she wanted it to be. The story has stayed with me all these years, as vivid as any of my most poignant memories.
But some months back, having come through another painful year of upheaval, my husband (who was not familiar with the story) and I listened to the audio version of the book on a long road trip. Four decades of living between my two encounters with the story had knocked off the romantic edge, and this time I saw -- with such clarity and compassion -- the deep pain of the central character, John Singer, and how impossible his life became in trying to carry the burdens that everyone brought to him.
Had I read or listened to the book for the first time at this stage of my life I don't think I would even recommend it to another reader, only because of how desperately sad the story is. But I do love it still, and one of the reasons I can say that is because, regardless of all I've been through in the intervening years, I don't live in that place of hopelessness any more.
"Words are things; and a small drop of ink falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think." Lord Byron