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This Is Not a Book Report (but you really should read this book)

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06/08/2012

This Is Not a Book Report photo 1

So my friend wrote a book and I'm trying to find a way to write an interesting post that lets people know about this book and makes people want to read it without writing a book report. What I really want to write about is how I knew this friend in a past life, so I'm just going to get this book plug in first and then write about that.

Everyone should check out Herself When She's Missing by Sarah Terez Rosenblum. Not only because I had the privilege of portraying the main character in the book trailer (what, that isn't reason enough?), but because it is smart and full of sex while making you question things like obsession and memory. Go get it. Okay, moving on to the part about me.

A few years ago I signed up for a creative writing class to figure out what kind of writing I wanted to do now that I would soon be leaving my job writing grant proposals. Autumn and Violet were nine months old at that point and I needed to find a focus for my intellectual side in my new role as stay-at-home mom.

I sat down to that first class with nervous excitement, looking around the square table at the other people wanting to be better writers. Would I measure up? There was a bunch of awkward silence in which some people talked to their neighbor and the rest of us pretended to be doing something super important on our phones. Finally, the teacher walked in and started the class. Instantly, I had this feeling that Sarah and I had already met. I racked the files of my brain about where our paths may have crossed. Nothing doing.  

I had done my research prior to signing up for the class so I knew a little about her. I read most of her website and did a thorough Google and Facebook search. I didn't think twice about her name or her photo then, but when we were actually in the same room I couldn't stop thinking we had met before. Reverberations from a past life.

This Is Not a Book Report photo 2

A few weeks into the class I found out she lived in my neighborhood, so I started giving her rides home, or at least to the Jewel by her house. For someone who never cooks, she sure goes to the grocery store a lot. Over time I discovered that we carry around a lot of the same labels in life (in no particular order):

1. Jewish
2. Badger (We overlapped at UW-Madison but never met)
3. Lesbian
4. List maker
5. Andersonville dweller
6. Writer (I cringe typing this as she is actually a PUBLISHED author)
7. Yogi

Clearly, we were meant to be friends, especially after we kept running into each other at yoga class. I could list all our differences like the fact that she lives with a werewolf, but that's not the point. The point is, she has become one of my closest friends in a short amount of time and I wonder how that relates to the initial feeling I had that we had already met. Is our intuition ever wrong about these things? If we're paying attention, will it alert us to the people we should have (or not have) in our lives?

Herself When She's Missing made me think about this idea, too. What happens when you don't listen to your intuition about your relationship, or even yourself? Or what happens when you think you're listening to your intuition but in reality your mind is deceiving itself?

I have to admit that I was the teeniest bit nervous about what would happen to our new-ish friendship if I didn't like the book. Would she still go to yoga with me twice a week? I couldn't lie to her, both because I'm a horrible liar and because she can read my mind. So here I do get a little book report-y, but I can't help it because it turns out there was no need to worry – I loved the book. A few reasons why:

1. There is a lot of sex in this book. It was even chosen first in this list of alternatives to reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

2. Without realizing it, suddenly the story has you thinking about memory and perception and wondering if the way you see the world has anything in common with what's actually happening. Where did that come from amid all those steamy pages?

3. Relatable characters. I actually texted Sarah at one point during the book. "I'm disturbed by how much I can relate to Andrea." She responded: "That is a huge compliment." I'm still wondering – is it because I can relate to her or that I'm disturbed by it?

4. With two lesbian main characters you might think it's got a limited audience, but if you've ever lusted after someone, been obsessed with a band, or fallen for someone who's unavailable, there's something in there for you. Check out the advance praise here.

5. The book is full of lists! Clearly, I had to write about it in a series of lists. I love lists, too. You should see our email exchanges.

Hopefully after reading this post, Sarah will still be my friend. As long as she doesn't say that my memory about how we met is all wrong or my intuition is crap, I think it will be okay.  

Come join me at the release party for Herself When She's Missing at Tony Fitzpatrick's Firecat Gallery Tuesday June 12 at 7 p.m. And if you're looking for an inspiring and supportive writing teacher, check Sarah's classes at StoryStudio.

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