|bookshelves||glbt, read, romance, young-adult|
|status||Read in September, 2012|
|review||A great read, and first book, by a promising new author!Edward develops his characters well and has a very authentic voice. There are plenty of family dynamics, school relationships and conflict within and between characters to keep the reader interested in this first love / coming of age story.
One of the things I particularly liked was the balance the author used for reactions to a gay character, both in families and in the school. They weren’t all negative and they weren’t all positive. Jake had many friends, from both sexes, that fully supported his boyfriend(s) and him, even to the point of some (OMG) kissing action.
A couple of times I did have to step back and wonder at how seemingly clueless Jake was in the “below the belt” department for an older teen gay boy, but that made for an easy exclusion of those awkward pawing scenes so prevalent in many coming out and male romance stories. The love scenes are tame, but the feelings seem sincere.
Jake’s family dynamics and the inevitable conflict therein are realistically developed without leaning too much on the absent father / over involved mother stereotype either. His younger sister, and confidant in all things “Drewish”, has a very sophisticated philosophy, but sometimes adults simply over-think the obvious.
Go take a look, we’ll be seeing more by Edward Jakab in the future!
I spent a lot of time in churches this past weekend. I went to Sioux Falls, SD with my mother and partner, Paul, primarily to attend the celebration of the finished life of a good friend’s mother.
This friend, let’s call her Cammy, has always brought feelings of “it’s a small world” and “six degrees of separation” into my mind. I met her about 15 years ago at the very liberal church I attend in St. Paul, MN. She is PhD musician, stunning blond and stands straight and tall at 6’1″. She was married to an even taller black man and has three friendly, statuesque children with him. The reason I think it is a small world is because her father was a pastor (he has passed away) and just happened to be the pastor at my Mom’s home church in Renner, SD. Cammy spent many years at that church and was married there by her father. At the time, this didn’t go over very well, especially with some of my relatives, for reasons I’ll let you imagine. Cammy’s father also buried my grandfather (my mother’s father) and Mom never forgot the wonderful service he performed for her dad.
Cammy’s mother’s service was at St. Mark’s Lutheran in Sioux Falls, where her parents attended for the last 10 or 12 years. It was so clear how much her mother brought to these people and how she and Cammy’s father embodied the very meaning of Matthew 25:31-46.
Mom, Paul and I also visited the home church, West Nidaros Lutheran Church in Renner, SD. This was originally a successful farming based church that has made the transition of farming and suburban community church. It was probably appropriate that there was a baptism, or celebration of new life, during that service. There were lots of friendly faces, many of which were related to Mom and I. We visited the replica church built in honor of the original Nidaros in Norway, the log cabin of relatives, moved and rebuilt to emphasize the roots of the church and, of course, the grave markers for my grandparents, uncle and aunt on Mom’s side of the family.
Lastly, we drove by Mom’s home place, which is still in the family, but rented out. The owner makes sure the place is well maintained and beautiful.
When I go back to my grandparents place, the church they attended or the family reunions organized by those left around Renner, SD, I am reminded how far and wide is a family. I talked to 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins after church and thought about how we are all connected through blood, gospel, friendship, race, sexual orientation, etc.
So many family members, so little time. Now that I’m 53, I think even more often about not wasting my precious time avoiding, criticizing or hating people that are family in so many senses of the word. The world has plenty of haters, what it needs is more lovers.
Two things that endear me to authors are books that have multiple plots and books with characters I relate to that are deeply developed. Having deep generational relationships integral to the plot, Conditioned Response fulfilled this beautifully.
The Phoenician Series,and Conditioned Response in my experience, develops a world both unique and real. One in which I might easily be able to adjust to!
As I was trying to dig through mountains of paper from being gone the last week, kicking myself for not blogging while I was gone, even though I barely had any internet access, and pondering what to put in a Monday blog spot that is supposed to be based on quotations, I ran into an e-mail from my friend, Mary.
Mary is a thinking gurl, a quietly stand beside you and support you gurl and she’s partnered with another beautiful soul, a funner dynamic duo you haven’t met.
She sent me a link to a blog spot called “Letter’s of Note” and, specifically, to a letter written to Edith Mirrielee by John Steinbeck when he was a young man and she was his professor of creative writing at Stanford.
It is a real eye opener, especially for those (of us???) that think “I can write a book” and start studying the mechanics of how to write a best seller while, potentially, forgetting the part about whether we can write a book anyone might be interested in reading.
If you are a writer, or maybe even more importantly, a wanna be writer, read this…and consider moving to Europe.
The stare must have burned into the artist’s consciousness, because he looked up and smiled right at Nico.
Gilbert then glanced over and stood up, wagging his tail at Nico. That was the precise moment that Nico realized Gilbert was not in his truck and that the artist was laying on one of his packing quilts. Neither one of these things was a big issue, but it did mean that this amply bottomed artist had been inside his truck.
“Stay” he said loudly to Gilbert as he held out his hand in the universal halt signal. There was really no need to do this, as Gilbert knew the rules, no running to Nico unless called. Gilbert decided to make it clear Nico was over-communicating, so he sat down.
Nico strode over to the side of his truck and Alexander moved to sit back on his haunches. He stuck his hand out, saying “I’m Nico, you must be…?” he wasn’t going to make any assumptions here.
Laughing, the young man grabbed his hand and hauled himself to his feet. “I’m Alexander, dude, really cool to meet you!”
Nico leaned down and picked up the abandoned sketch pad. “I see you’ve been sketching my dog…”
“Yeah, he is so cool and he has the best eyes…”
Nico interrupted with his continued statement “…who used to be in my truck…on my packing quilt, which also used to be in my truck.”
“Oops, first mistake?”
She leaned forward. “Is that what you call them?” Her breath moved the smoke.
“That’s what Fletcher calls them. What makes you think those are mine?”
“Oh, because there’s so much Brazilian influence in them. It’s more, I don’t know, grand than the dumb tags you see around here. It’s more than just tags. Tags are about the person doing the tagging. They say, I was here. This is me. I exist. Pay attention to me. Yours are about the reader and writer coming together. Yours are about community. Typical of what you see on a lot of streets in cities in Brazil. Hey, come on, don’t look so surprised!”
Monopoli, Ben (2011-08-29). The Painting of Porcupine City: A Novel (Kindle Locations 7135-7142). Ben Monopoli. Kindle Edition.