Today I'm talking with Laura Anderson Kurk. If you know me, then you probably know by now, she and I are kindred writing spirits. Although she lives in Texas, and I live in Ohio, there are times when I grab my phone and start dialing before I've even thought about it, because I NEED to talk to her. And almost daily there are instances, when my fingers fly across my keyboard consulting, celebrating and commiserating with her over "writing stuff". Tomorrow she releases Perfect Glass, the sequel to her novel, Glass Girl. You will fall in love with it! Today we discuss how Perfect Glass came to be, so tomorrow you'll be ready to dive into a book that will absolutely absorb you.
You write Perfect Glass from two point of views, Henry and Meg. Was this difficult?
When I first wrote Perfect Glass, the entire story was from Henry's POV. I loved it. My agent and editor didn't. They felt the book would be enjoyed by more readers if I added Meg's voice. That's why you'll find the switching narration. And now that the book is done, I see how much stronger it is to have both points of view. Both stories show the development in Meg and Henry and allow readers to see Meg through Henry's eyes and to see Henry through Meg's eyes. Getting to write Henry's words as he describes Meg's beauty and how much he loves her, was my favorite part of writing this book.
Readers wonder if writing from multiple POVs is difficult. The difficulty (as you know) is in making sure you're staying true to each character's voice and tone. Readers are sensitive to the pitch of a narrator's voice and if they sense something off-key, it pulls them out of the story. Making sure I had the voices just right was the trickiest aspect of writing this book.
How did you stay in character?
I wrote Henry's entire story first and lived in his head for a few months. Then when I had it perfect, I wrote Meg's entire story. That way, I didn't have to force myself in and out of character. I think that would've made me crazy. Once I had both stories the way I wanted them, I joined them. Chapter by chapter, I wrote in connecting elements that made the two stories interlocking. The common ground came in the fact that both Meg and Henry are learning what it means to love people who are considered unlovable. They're both learning to put away selfishness and grow up. They're both struggling with ego, but learn a lot about themselves. The novel's epigraph is an old quote (paraphrased) "calamity is the perfect glass in which we can truly see and know ourselves." The calamity Henry and Meg each face becomes the mirror that lets them finally see themselves clearly.
Was one of their voices easier for you to write?
Believe it or not, I'm more comfortable writing Henry. I have a theory about this . . . I think it's because there's more of me in Meg and I've never been great at understanding the nuances of my own personality. Meg -- holy cow. She's just complicated and because she's a lot like me, it was hard for me to see her objectively. That dilemma actually lends a lot of truth to Meg's character, though, so I think she comes off as honest and raw and real. As an observer, I've known so many guys who are like Henry. I've studied them. I know their mannerisms and speech patterns. I know how their brains work and what affects them. So I was able to construct Henry with a really objective eye.
Meg and Henry are dealing with a long distance relationship. While Henry is out of town, a new student, Quinn (who is clearly interested in Meg) arrives. If you were Meg, which boy would you choose and why?
Oh, there's no question my heart would remain with Henry. But...can I be real? I have a weakness for boys who understand literature and poetry and songwriting. Boys who get Whitman and can talk to me about the Harlem Renaissance in easy conversation. In the same way, Quinn is definitely interesting to Meg. He reminds her of the urban, sophisticated kind of guys she knew in Pittsburgh. And he reminds her more importantly, of the brother she lost. She wants Quinn in her life, but she knows Henry is her future. Henry opened a new world up for Meg, and she's head over heels in love with him.
Most high school stories would be incomplete without the school dance, including yours. There is so much hype surrounding homecoming, prom, etc. Do you have a distinct high school dance memory?
Oh my lands. Yes, I do. Dare I dredge it up and share it with your readers? What to do...what to do...
I was a late bloomer. A wallflower. Not noticed by guys. Ever. But for some reason, my junior year, the best looking but most dangerous boy in my class took an interest in me. He would laugh now hearing how I describe him. He was tall, blonde, cocky, and WILD. At least that's my memory. He made me so nervous. I was timid, rail thin, and naive. You know, the girl who'd never been kissed.
He asked me to prom and I almost didn't say yes because I thought I'd die of nerves. My best friend talked me into saying yes. I was nervous the whole night and, when he drove me home, I was so afraid he'd try to kiss me goodnight that I almost threw up in his car. In fact, I had dry heaves sitting in his passenger seat. Loud, dry heaves that went on and on. Is there anyway to recover from that? Nope. You gotta live with that nightmare the rest of your life. No sanctuary from a dry heaving past.
What's your dream prom dress?
I'm not a follower of fashion, to be honest. I like when I see girls who dare to look different because it seems like, these days, every girl is trying to look like the same person. When I see a girl brave enough to look a little indie or alternative, I silently cheer for them in my head. (not out loud because indie types do NOT want to be noticed in that way.) My favorite formal dresses are always very vintage. I dress Meg and her friend, Abby, in vintage dresses for Winter Dance. I just think it's important to look like a class act, because you'll stand out in the sea of too tight, too short, too low cut dresses. And take care that you don't look like you're headed to a pageant, either, with the overdone makeup and stiff hair. Imagine how that looks from a guy's perspective. I think guys probably prefer soft makeup and natural, soft hair. Anything more and you just look plastic.
If I were seventeen and shopping for prom, I'd be looking for a dress like this.
I love the relationship Meg has with a painter in this story. I understand your mom is a painter. How much of her did you pour into this book?
My mom does paint and she's really good, but it's a hobby for her. So some of Jo Russell's thoughts and attitudes came from my mom, but the deepest and greatest parts of Jo Russell came from one of my best friends--Mara Schasteen. The book is dedicated to Mara. Our lives intersected in Texas when we were young moms together. I can't begin to tell you how indelible an impression Mara made on my heart and soul. We survived a lot of things together, but more than that, we met each other in a place where we were starved for beauty and art and kindness. We were able to enrich each other in a lot of ways.
Mara is a brilliant painter. I want people to see the world through her eyes. It's a beautiful, wondrous, God-filled place. I describe one of Mara's paintings in Perfect Glass. Henry dreams that Meg has painted it.
Much of the artistic words and phrases and technical aspects of painting that you find in Perfect Glass came from Mara. She's the one who described the wet dog smell of a studio full of primed linen canvas. She's the one who once pointed out that everything in the world has just a touch of ultramarine violet in it. It's not that I interviewed her. These are things that came to me from having a relationship with her and knowing her heart and her art. Jo Russell, the artist in Perfect Glass, is seriously one of my all-time favorite characters I've created. I could live in her world for a long while and never get bored.
What have you learned about the art of writing from Mara's and your mom's art?
I've learned all art is the impulse to create. That's an impulse given to all humans by the original Creator. Even Eminem was given the impulse to create by God. He may not realize it or acknowledge it, but that's where he got that desire.
From fine artists, I've learned that beauty is there for the taking and it's everywhere -- even in the things that look ugly at first glance. I've learned inspiration comes in the act of creating.
I've learned writers build stories in exactly the same way fine artists build a painting. If you watch an artist, you think they're crazy when they first start working on a canvas. They're staring at a waterfall and painting random crooked lines. But if you watch a while, it clicks. And you finally see what they've seen in their heads the whole time. Then it builds and builds. Mara says her favorite part of a painting is when she's almost done and she's adding the magic. Suddenly things move and shine and shimmer. Suddenly eyes look alive and faces look warm. Suddenly nature looks energetic like you could walk right into her trees. All this happens with calculated brush strokes.
It's the same with writing. I start with the bones, spare and barely there. Then I build the muscle and fat and skin. Then I add the curves and the meeting places, where parts of story meet like parts of a body meet. And finally I add the magic - the precise rhythm and heart of the story. The singular words that make a reader stop breathing for a second so she can hear me. That connection right there, between me and a reader, is beautiful and tender. It's a shared experience. Readers don't often realize that they're giving me as much as I'm giving them. Just imagining their thoughts as they read my thoughts blows my mind.
To experience Laura Anderson Kurk's magic first hand, download Perfect Glass by clicking on it's title or cover.
I decided to start this blog as a way for me to work out some of the things going on in my head. Like my eating disorder. Somehow it seems less harmful if I say “eating disorder” like my doctor does, instead of ANOREXIA or BULIMIA which sound so vulgar and catastrophic. But the words “eating disorder” also make what’s going on with me sound so sterile and almost insignificant. Which it’s not! Because even though I’m “on the path of recovery”, I’m guessing I’ll never be normal about food again. I can’t look at a cheeseburger or a Cadbury egg without calculating fat grams and calories. I’m not allowed to diet, because it could spin into something ugly. So, even though I look normal, or at least normalish, I’m still eating, but trying to make that not be way too much food or way not enough food. It’s complicated!
Then there’s my boyfriend, Beau, who’s not actually my boyfriend because even though he says he likes me and I’m nutso over him, his parents say we can’t date. Well, we couldn’t date during basketball season. You guessed it, he’s a basketball player. As of last weekend, the season is officially over. So, we’re allowed to date again, only we’ve been on this break the last few months, so we don’t know what to do, how to do this dating thing. Sometimes I don’t know how to act around him – like how much of myself to reveal or how cool to try and act. But I’m completely mesmerized by him, and well, it’s a mess.
I also need to talk about God, because even though I know He’s always been there for me, I was ignoring Him, and that turned out to be a major mistake. I almost lost my friends, my slot on dance team (which is where I truly feel alive), Beau, everything, because I thought I could do it all by myself. I figured out the hard way, the ultra hard way that I can’t do everything by myself. I’m not even supposed to. God wants me to depend on Him. And, as long as I do my part, which means trying my hardest to be the best Melissa Rollins I can be, and talk to Him about it, He’ll take care of the rest. It sounds easy, and I’m really trying, but some days are harder than others.
So, I have to trust. Trust that I’ll figure out all this stuff about food and boys and God and somehow maintain good grades and keep my dance coach happy. Like I said before, it’s impossible to do it alone. But, I do believe, with God all things are possible.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Melissa Rollins is juggling all the balls in the air; dance team, freshman year of high school, new girl friends, a new boyfriend, grades. And it's all going quite well, it always has, until there are too many balls in the air to juggle anymore. She feels like her life is spinning out of control. How can Melissa be accepted and appreciated when there are so many pressures to be perfect? How can she gain back a little bit of that control?
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There’s a scene in the movie, The Dead Poet’s Society, where the English teacher at an all boys’ high school asks his students to stand on top of their desks. Some boys pounce toR the flat surface, eager to do something quasi against the rules. Others hesitate. Why? Because they aren’t used to standing on their desks.
Have you ever stood on the top of your desk?
The purpose of the exercise is to get his students to look at things in a new way, to gain a different perspective.
This week of Thanksgiving, I’m doing just that, gaining a different perspective.
I’m on top of Rumbling Bald Mountain in North Carolina. My Internet service is spotty, there isn’t a Starbucks within an hours drive and I have a cold. Nothing serious, but the kind where it feels like my head is stuffed with cotton balls. Everything sounds muffled, tastes a bit bland, smells slightly metallic and my energy is low. But, I’m thankful, well except for the Starbucks part.
I’m out of my routine – off track – on top of my desk.
So, I’m sitting more. Gazing at the sky, listening to the laugher of my family and drinking home brewed coffee.
Since I’ve been on my trip I’ve stared at a rainbow, bright and daring, as if God grabbed a handful of Crayola markers and sliced right through the sky with a burst of color. I’ve gazed at zillions of stars, dazzling bright and white through the vast blackness of night. I’ve watched the sunset, which is more like a swirl of colorful clouds dancing around the mountain peeks. As I write this as 2:33 in the afternoon, I see the moon peeking out early. I’m up so high; I feel like if I stretched just a little further, I could grab it.
“If we want to stay on the road to faith, we have to hit the brakes, pull over to a rest area and stop.” Michael Yaconelli
In my typical day, my busy schedule I am productive and healthy and happy, but if I do the same thing everyday, all the time, I miss out on some of God’s beauty, His gifts. And in the midst of missing His creation, I also miss the chance to say, ‘thanks’.
This year I am thankful for a cold, and a view not from the top of the desk, but from the top of a mountain. Because I have no emails or tweets or Facebook to distract me, because my cold forces me to take things slowly, because I’m up where things look different, I’m gaining a different, deeper perspective. And I am thankful.
How about you? What are you thankful for this year?
Have you ever met someone who you knew God introduced to you to somehow, someway alter and enhance your life? Laura Anderson Kurk is one of these people. I haven't known her for long, but already I feel like I've known her forever. We both write stories for young women, live in college towns, and yeah, the "Laura" thing. So, today, I want to introduce you to Laura and give you a chance to win her book Glass Girl. You'll be hearing more about her in the future. God will make sure of that. In the meantime, read her insights on "Indie Girls" and the deets on how to win her book.
GUEST BLOG BY LAURA ANDERSON KURK, AUTHOR OF GLASS GIRL
A few weeks ago, my daughter and I had a conversation about the minefield of middle school and how the girls who'd seemed unique and awesome in lower grades suddenly looked like copies of one another. One day--cool, relaxed and confident. The next day--clingy, rubber-stamped robots. I told her the same thing happened when I was in middle school and when her grandmother was in middle school. It's just that weird middle school thing that happens when we stumble a little with confidence.
The conversation came about because my daughter had talked to a girl in the hall that morning while they were waiting for the bell to ring. This was a girl she had never talked to before. They moved in different circles, respectfully distant.
The girl said—"Hey, I've always wanted to tell you that I like your style. Most people here are too afraid to be different but you aren't and I really respect that."
That was it....the whole conversation. I think my daughter swallowed her tongue and then went on with her day in her cool, vintage way. But the girl's words stuck with her. And they emboldened her and went a long way toward making her feel more confident.
It got me thinking, again, about the power of words. And the power YOU hold when you reach across the chasms you think are between you and the other girls at school.
So here’s what’s up. I want you to try to encourage one girl at school tomorrow.
Spend tonight thinking about who needs words from you. Who is out there, trying to do her own thing, and thinking no one notices her? I know that applies to you--you think no one notices you. But watch what happens when you toss a pebble in the school pond and compliment someone who needs it. The ripple effect is a beautiful thing, girls. And soon you'll see those little waves coming back to you.
You've heard me talk about "art bombing" a bit over on my blog. Well, now we're going to "compliment bomb." It'll be fun, trust me. And don't forget to come back here and tell us what you did, said, and saw. We're all in this together, learning how to feel our way toward comfort.
Here's something, too, that makes me smile. Even the "Indie" girls admit that they're just another fashion trend. There's a Wiki on How to Be Indie. (You can take the "How Indie Are You" quiz here if you're interested.) I think it's okay, though, because what's cool about "Indie" is the attitude of acceptance they have for others.
Once you realize everyone is trying hard to be noticed and accepted, your viewpoint changes and you're suddenly more approachable and accessible. Your heart is open to people.
There's nothing cooler than that. Trust me.
“Watch the way you talk . . . . Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 msg
photo courtesy of Cary Anne Photography
FREE BOOK DEETS: Laura Anderson Kurk’s debut YA novel Glass Girl is available now. You can win a free copy by being one of the first twenty people to comment below, or share this post on Facebook or Tweet about it on Twitter. Just make sure to let me know if you FB or tweet, so you can be included in the drawing.
“We were made to be courageous,” The Casting Crowns belt out in their song. But what does it mean - to be courageous?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines courage as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
My lovely friend, Amy Parker, co-authored the new book, Courageous Teens (click on the picture to order) with Michael Catt. In the book they delve into not only what it means to be courageous, but also how to attain that courage. I had the pleasure of interviewing them about the challenge to be courageous.
Laura: Courageous Teens focuses on people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe. Which one of these characters do you most identify with or are most inspired by? Why?
Michael: I think Daniel, especially when thinking of teenagers and the next generation. They are the future of the church, our future leaders, pastors, and missionaries. We need a generation of Daniels if we are going to take back the culture.
Amy: Esther is such a powerful, inspiring role model for women. Here is an orphaned girl who is able to influence an entire kingdom, to save her people, simply because she was brave enough to stand in courage. When I’m faced with a difficult situation, I can hear Mordecai telling Esther, “Maybe you were chosen for such a time as this.”
Laura: In what areas of life do you think teens need to be courageous?
Michael: There is little difference between teens and their parents—it’s the “fear of man” which is “a snare.” Peer pressure, what others think, is it cool, are all subtle forces that cause us to cave in.
Amy: Wow. In every area! We don’t realize it when we’re young, but so many decisions made in our teen years shape the rest of our lives. That’s why it is vital to train and educate teens and young adults to make courageous decisions now. From this point forward, they must learn it’s okay—encouraged, actually!—to make choices that dare to go against the grain of popular society.
Laura: But that can be so difficult. How do you advise teens to stay strong and be brave when it seems like everything is against them?
Michael: Read the Word, get their examples from people that God marked out as Courageous.
Amy: In Courageous Teens, we help readers start small, to make one courageous decision today. While Michael and I hope the content will help teens think more courageously in general, we also put that courage to work. After every chapter, we give readers a prompt that helps them decide one thing they can do to apply that chapter’s principle to their lives. Right then and there. By the end of the book, they will have done at least ten courageous actions. Actions become habits. Habits form behavior. Before you know it, you’ve got a whole society of courageous teens, standing strong together, making a better world for us all. “Courage is contagious.”
Laura: The book is divided into four sections; Courageous Faith, Courageous Leadership, Courageous Priorities and Courageous Influence. Which one do you think is most important?
Michael: I don’t know if one is more important than the other. I rather think it’s about the flow. You have to have faith if you are going to be a leader. Leaders set priorities, and those who have faith, lead. Leaders set priorities and are influencers.
Amy: I think they all work hand-in-hand, but you’ve got to start with courageous faith. It has to start within you. From there, you’ll build your priorities and lead and influence others. Each part strengthens the other.
Laura: Where do you find courage?
Michael: From The Word of God, from the indwelling Holy Spirit and from reading the biographies of great men.
Amy: This book was just as much a reminder for me as it is for anyone who reads it. It’s a daily quest. I know that “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18 HCSB). And I know where to find that perfect love. But I have to seek it. Every day. Every day I’m faced with something new, something that scares me, and I have to look perfect love in the face before I have the courage to stand up and step over my fears. I remind myself who and what I’m fighting for. I’m not doing this for me. And I’m not doing this alone.
Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
What one thing can you do today to be Courageous?
Happy New Year! I know the rest of the civilized world celebrates New Year’s on December 31, but December 31 means nothing to me. No major change occurs in my life in January.
The end of August, however, is full of change, excitement and potential. Ever since I was five it meant the beginning of a new school year; a new teacher, classrooms smelling of freshly cleaned desks, the potential of new friends, thick sweaters and stiff jeans hanging in my closet, the smell of sharpened pencils and new markers, more challenging dance steps in ballet, a piano book full of unlocked songs, the mega thick issue of Seventeen laden with the latest fall fashions, blank notebooks waiting to be stickered and doodled upon, and new music to celebrate and imprint this season of my life - the possibilities for the new school year were endless.
They still are. In late August there’s a shift in the weather, in people’s dress (it’s almost boot season – hooray!), in our family’s schedule and routine. There is more structure, are more commitments, are more deadlines, but with those come more productivity, more possibilities and more excitement. And for me, new music.
For every season in my life I have songs associated with it. There’s the New Order and Yaz we jammed to endlessly when I was on dance team.
The deep, mystical lyrics of Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) and Bono (U2) resonated throughout my college years. Songs swaying from beautiful ballads to punchy political protests to boppy dance tunes. It was the stuff introspective, formative college years were made of.
My writing has musical seasons too. Anytime I hear the strings and horns from Les Miserables they remind me of my character, Emma, in Angry. Anytime I hear Todd Agnew’s raspy voice I think of my book Hot, and the main character Lindsey. Jack Johnson reminds me of my friend and editor, Amy, as we both Pandora’d him simultaneously while she edited my book Skinny.
There are songs that take me back to spring breaks and slumber parties and countries I’ve visited and even my wedding. Songs take me back to special friends, family members, trials and triumphs.
Psalm 33:2-3 "Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy."
I’m eager to see the soundtrack God will lay for this school year. I’m currently riveted by bands ranging from Snow Patrol to Toby Mac to the powerful voice and lyrics of Holly Starr. Her songs encourage me to walk strong in God and remember He is always right beside me. This is a message I’ll carry in my virtual backpack as my new year commences.
How about you? What musical memories strum your heartstrings? What songs will be on your playlist this year?
My book HOT is FREE on Kindle this week:
This is the main character's, Lindsey's, blog:
I haven’t been to youth group in a while.
There. I admitted it.
I feel so guilty about skipping; I’m not sure what to do, or how to get back into my routine.
I love youth group. I really do. Our youth pastor is young and goofy and totally gets it. The band rocks. I mean it. I would rather sink into the squishy giant pillows on the barn floor where we meet on Sunday nights and jam to that band than listen to my iPod! But here’s the deal. I’m in the middle of some stuff -- big crummy, confusing stuff.
My sister’s life could be an episode on 90210. My parents are all tuned into her station and her station only, even during commercial breaks. And my boyfriend, I mean my ex-boyfriend, Noah, well I still secretly adore him.
I’m still crazy about him because, mmmm, because Noah smells like minty gum, and his hand feels so warm and strong and safe when it holds my tiny hand. Did I mention he has these dark forest green eyes and he’s so tall I have to stand on my tippy toes to look into them? He’s also one of the kindest and sweetest people I know, and he completely understands me.
I broke up with him. I know. It sounds crazy. But, I had to for now. Things got too out of control, and we needed to slow down. I needed to slow down and get back to who I am, to who God made me to be. I know it’s the right thing, but it is so hard.
This brings me back to youth group, because Noah goes to youth group too. And the real reason I haven’t been going, is him. It’s one thing to see Noah across the cafeteria at school. But in the barn? It will be so awkward. I won’t know where to sit. My best friend, Emma, and I used to always sit with him and his friends. Emma hasn’t been going to youth group either, which has made it easier to skip. All Noah’s friends will make comments under their breaths. The people who don’t know we broke up will ask why we’re not sitting together. And I’ll have to look at him and not feel his warm leg next to my leg and not smell him or hear his smooth, soothing voice. I’m not ready.
The voice in my head, which I know is God, says it’s time. He says he’ll be there for me.
Really? How cool is that? But is that enough God?
There will be a whole lot of other people there too. And they’ll make it hard. He says to remember that youth group isn’t about who sits next to who or who wears what but about getting closer to Him. He says His grace is enough.
Right. I knew that. Sometimes, I just forget. Okay, I just need to stay focused on God. Easier said than done, but possible. With God’s grace I can do this. I think I’ll call Emma and try to con her into going with me.
2 Corinthians 12:8 My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Katie Parker is the new girl at In Between High.
Katie Parker is a regular teenage girl. She listens to her iPod, is searching for the right group of friends – ones who bring out the best in her, dislikes her militant gym teacher and the hundreds of push-ups she forces Katie’s class to execute, struggles to stay awake in math and welcomes a plate of homemade cookies.
But just like most teenage girls, most people actually, there’s more than meets the eye. Katie is the new girl, because she’s just been taken in as a foster child. She needs foster parents, because her mom is in prison for dealing drugs. Her foster parents seem to be keeping a secret from her. And there’s her foster grandmother, Maxine, who among other things, drags Katie along on an impossible mission dressed in black with branches glue-gunned to her hot pink bicycle helmet.
Also, just like me and you, Katie’s searching for hope when things seem hopeless, for joy where there is pain and for answers where she has so many questions.
I highly recommend this fast paced, amusing and emotional story. Author Jenny B. Jones (not to be confused with bratty first grader, Junie B. Jones) weaves a beautiful tale of searching that we can all relate to, peppered with hilarious humor in all the right spots at a high school who’s mascot is the Chihuahuas. Although the problems in Katie’s life don’t magically resolve themselves, she works hard to make some changes. And although Katie doesn’t find all the answers she’s looking for, she’s on the right track.
What are you searching for today?
Almost everyone has eaten a cafeteria hot lunch. Almost everyone who’s eaten a hot lunch has regretted eating a hot lunch. I’ve graduated past the days of dining in the cafeteria; yet by some strange quirk in the universe have found myself on the other side of the line, dishing out food to my kids and their classmates at their school cafeteria. Even though I only perform this duty once or twice a month, I always have visions of hairnets and lumpy mashed potatoes the morning before I go. Thankfully the days of hairnets are gone, but I am required to wear a cap when I volunteer. Which is bizarre - if I’m volunteering, why am I being punished? Okay, because nobody wants hair in their food. So, I opt for my U2 black, military cap and keep my fingers crossed that I won’t be serving Salisbury steak.
Maybe that’s why Alex Bradley’s book, Hot Lunch, made me laugh so hard.
Alex Bradley dives into the head of a blue-haired sophomore, Molly, with a chip on her shoulder and a defense mechanism of total sarcasm to keep her from relationships and friendships of any kind, which she believes shelters her from being hurt. What headphone-wearing Molly doesn’t expect her sarcasm will get her is a catfight with a classmate in the cafeteria, resulting in a food fight, resulting in the ultimate punishment – lunchroom duty.
Although I’ve failed in the department of learning much while topping tater tots on trays, except for maybe some school gossip, Molly learns a lot about herself, others and the importance of fresh ingredients to make actual, edible, nutritious food.
Except for a few minor profanities throughout the halls of high school, Hot Lunch is a funny, tasty treat of a book with plenty for your mind and mouth to snack on (including a few simple recipes for the non-cooks in the audience).
What’s the worst (or best) thing you’ve ever been served on a cafeteria tray?
Laura L. Smith