Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Book Review: My Townie Heart

Diana Sperrazza
At first, I wasn't sure about this story. The more I read, however, the more I could identify with the time and place. All the best writing teachers tell us to write what about we know. In one of my writing manuals, it has a lovely quote that says "most of what we write about has happened to us before we are age 15." (I think it is age 15, but you get the point!)

I can believe this is so. Sperrazza tells us, in the inner pages, that she draws heavily from her personal experiences for this novel; her life experiences and her family circumstances, and it all seems familiar. I grew up in a blue collar section of inner city Toronto, and Sperrazza's narrative rings true for me.

 I really liked it. Not all journalists could write such a novel, but she is well-educated, experienced, and has lived a tough life. She has a wonderful voice, as well. I could identify with her characters, growing up in the 70s as I did. I could compare her characters, and the time and age, the music, the media and the wild experiences.

A slim book, at 138 pages, it was just the right length, as it was a powerful story, quite intense, and very driven by the plot. She has a great editor, my eagle-eye didn't spot any mistakes (and I usually spot a few).
"Under the merciless florescent lighting, my mother's face looked different. Time, almost like a small animal, had burrowed itself in between her eyes. It had pouched out the skin around her mouth, creating small sacks of extra flesh to live in. I was sad suddenly that my mother was getting old and that there was nothing I could do about it."

"A class conscious, psychologically-driven story of loss and transformation"

About the Author

Emmy-award winning journalist Diana Sperrazza was raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of a family dealing with generations of alcoholism. In and out of college for many years, she waitressed, cleaned houses and made various forays into the counterculture until she moved to New Mexico and discovered journalism.

She settled in Washington, D.C., where she spent nearly thirty years working in television news and production. She currently lives in New York City and works as a senior executive producer for the crime channel, Investigation Discovery. She holds a MFA from Bennington College, and is a grateful member of St. Marks in the Bowery, an Episcopal church in the East Village.

My Townie Heart [Post Hill Press] is available nationwide as of June 16, 2015.


pattinase (abbott) said...

This sounds great. Reminds me of Andre Dubus' book about his townie childhood. Called TOWNIE, I think.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Glad you liked the book. It sounds very thought provoking.

William Kendall said...

It does sound like a good read.

Cloudbuster said...

Sounds fascinating! Thanks for the great review.

Sarah Laurence said...

I loved the excerpt and how you related your personal background to the author's. Interesting advice on age 15. Maybe that's part of the reason I write YA.

Barrie said...

I do like it when I can relate to a book. So, I understand why that appeals to you. Sounds like a book i need to add to my TBR pile. Thanks, Jenn!