The generous beyond generous Lidia Yuknavitch, author of several books, including Dora: A Headcase, Chronology of Water, The Small Backs of Children, and The Book of Joan (due out this month!), has an interview up on the Powell's featured books blog. She mentioned me and said a thing, "Radical Innovators" and I'm one of them. Love, love, love. Read the whole thing here: http://www.powells.com/post/qa/powells-qa-lidia-yuknavitch-author-of-the-book-of-joan
Forrester doesn’t gloss over the difficult parts of her life, but rather tells stories of how that adversity formed a stronger
In Narrow River, Wide Sky, Jenny Forrester traces her journey from growing up in a trailer in a small, conservative Colorado town to becoming a college-educated, feminist writer, and how that changes her relationships along the way. This is a moving memoir about how the influence of family can remain long after people drift apart, and how one never truly forgets the circumstances of one’s childhood.
Forrester’s relationship with her mother forms the core of the story; the book starts with the reveal that the author lost her mother early in adulthood, then reflects back on their relationship during her early years. As a girl, Forrester grows up steeped in the mythology of the pioneers in a rural area where men hunt deer for food, neighbors concern themselves with who in the area might be sinning, and spanking is still a preferred parenting tool. These scenes truly read as if from a work of literary fiction, with an excellent sense of place that makes the town into a
Forrester brings narrative immediacy to the rifts between her parents that lead to their separation and her moving away with her mother and brother. She writes a series of scenes that tell a lot about her sibling relationship—warm at times, but often a source of secrets or even casual cruelty. It’s clear early on that Forrester was something of a square peg in her rural environs.
Forrester also shares her experiences with a number of men, from her dismissive and often abusive high school boyfriend to the more stable life she eventually finds with her husband. She writes of her experiences with drugs, with religion, and with her own political awakening. All of this ties back to how she and her brother grew apart in many ways and brings the memoir full circle.
Forrester doesn’t gloss over the difficult parts of her life, but rather tells stories of how that adversity formed a stronger individual and a strong writer.
The Kirkus Review. I'm so grateful for a good review! Love. "
NARROW RIVER, WIDE SKY
Author: Jenny Forrester
Review Issue Date: March 1, 2017
Online Publish Date: February 21, 2017
Price ( Paperback ): $18.95
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
ISBN ( Paperback ): 978-0-9970683-5-1
The landscape and culture of west Colorado are vividly evoked in an accomplished literary debut."How do we settle with ghosts?" Forrester asks in her finely etched memoir, which begins when she and her brother try to decide on their mother's burial site. "Where do we bury our mothers when there is nowhere we belong?" The author grew up poor: her family lived in a double-wide trailer after their father's "all-time best construction business" failed; and then, after her parents divorced, in a single-wide trailer in the small town of Mancos. Narrow-minded churchgoers pitied her mother and the two children as a broken family. Forrester was bullied at school, where bored students "learned through textbooks, rote memorization, and discipline with strict rules, straight lines, the Pledge of Allegiance, moral certainty, no discussions, no show and tell." Moral certainty was widespread in a town peopled by assorted religious fundamentalists and strident patriots. Mancos seemed like a place from which Forrester never would escape. In high school, she was promiscuous, ending up with Paul, as bigoted and controlling as her father had been. As a scholarship student at the University of Colorado, she faced "uncharted social terrain." She struggled academically, felt alienated from the school's sorority culture, gained unwanted weight, and discovered that she was pregnant. She had an abortion without anesthesia because she could not afford it. Much of the memoir focuses on Forrester's mother, struggling to support her children, navigating her own uncharted terrain as she trained to become an ESL teacher, and finally showing her daughter the understanding and support that she desperately needed. Throughout, the author reflects on the culture that shaped and, in many ways, oppressed her: "an American flag waving from the bracket by the trailer door and ranchers and Mormons and Masons and a Christianity based in western pioneer mythology and guns under the bed." A modest, thoughtful memoir that traces hard-won liberation from the past.
So grateful to be published in a new Lit Journal. Love to PomPom Lit!
"My socially conscious programming said Don’t call the cops. He left behind a knife – a hunting knife, fake bone hunting knife handle, fake hunting knife swirls on the sharp-enough metal, fake Celtic symbolism, but the sharp point and bloodying hunting knife edge are real."
Rhonda Hughes is the best editor I could ever hope to know. They say to edit is divine. So true. All thanks forever.
Kate Carroll De Gutes, Oregon Book Award/Lambda Literary Winner for the book "Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than they Appear" has created The Authenticity Experiment. She interviewed me, and my answer to authenticity/being authentic had to do with navigating my sensitivity.
Please sign up for Kate's newsletter (click the FOLLOW button) - you'll be super glad you did. There are all kinds of beautiful authenticity experiments going on in this world.
“You’d cry if I looked at you cross-eyed,” [my mother] said. “You still cry about every little thing.” I heard the words “Sensitive” and “Oversensitive” often – when we hung the deer to bleed in the barn, and I cried, when we plucked the chickens, and I cried, and when anyone said “I was only kidding” and when anyone called me a “city girl.” My sensitivities covered issues animal cruelty and childhood bullying injustices. I saw injustice everywhere and cried over it."
Read the rest here.
Kate's web page is here: http://katecarrolldegutes.com/. Give her love!