Thursday, January 21, 2016

Zoe vs. "The Book Blurb"

When you're in a bookstore or even shopping online, how much attention do you pay to book blurbs? You know, those hyperbolic, sometimes pretentious, quotes on the backs of book jackets praising the book or the author as if they're the greatest thing since sliced bread, or the printing press, or, to combine the two, those toasters that can print selfies, a cause for celebration if I've ever heard one (though to be a true selfie for me the toaster would need to get my likeness on a piece of Wonder Bread while avoiding toasting the bread at all because I am WHITE).
What was I talking about? Book blurbs. I don't know how many people actually decide to read a book based on quotes from reviewers or other authors. I figure most people pick up a book because they already like the author, or a friend recommended it, or they're intrigued by the cover, and not because another author they might not have heard of said it was . . .
"A towering achievement! . . . Filled with words and sentences that are just, like, OMG. . . . You'll crap your lederhosen. For serious."
Anyway, recently I was thinking to myself: What if Zoe were a book? What would the quotes on her back say about her?

Depending on the phase of life she's in, her mood that day, or even minute, Zoe can seem like a mystery, other times, a suspense thriller. She's an ongoing coming-of-age story steeped in myth and fairy tale. A true-crime story with elements of magic realism. Some days Zoe can even seem like a science fiction creation or a scary book you won't want to read before bed if you need to get a good night's sleep.
Herewith some blurbs in praise of Zoe . . . and her works.

Praise for Potty Training: And Related Incidents and Accidents
"An experience that will linger long in one's mental landscape."
"Gritty. Volcanic."
"Shattering and unflinching!"
"Will make you jump from your chair."
"Have tissues nearby! Make that paper towels! The extra-absorbent kind."
"An intoxicating blend of majesty and wonder. Incandescent."

Accolades for A Child's Tantrums
"A smashing tour de force."
"Brilliant, enthralling. Magnificently rendered."
"Full of terrible truths. Chilling in their implications."
"A resonant meditation on childhood and its persistent vision of a utopia filled with things that can only belong to her. Certainly not her mother or the downstairs neighbor."

Praise for Dear One's Nightly Avoidance of Bedtime
"Pervasively menacing."
"A masterwork from Brooklyn's literary enfant terrible."
"Nail-biting. Full of stomach-churning reversals."
"Edgy and dark."
"A sumptuous tapestry."
"Bonfire of the Vanities meets Hop on Pop."

Kudos for A Five-Year-Old's Lies (and Other Science Fiction)
"In a word: jaw-dropping."
"A born storyteller."
"Brave and sublime. Transcendent."
"Luminous. A rare imagination."
"A future classic. Throws down the gauntlet in world-building. Brava!"

Praise for Playing with Zoe
"Hard-hitting. (Seriously. Your face will hurt.)"
"Violently comedic. Bleakly beautiful."
"Darkly magnificent."
"You won't be able (or allowed, really) to look away."
"Playing with Zoe is like opening a huge box of Legos, putting the model together blind, and then, in a burst of prescience, knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the smallest pieces will get lodged under your unsuspecting foot at 2 a.m."

Raves for Zoe's Life Thus Far
"It's been a long time since a work of art such as Zoe has come along to shatter pre-conceived notions not to mention items around the house. You'll sink to your knees in defeat and wonder at the sheer magnitude of her achievements."
"Potently contemplative."
"An exquisitely rendered kaleidoscopic work that anchors a floating postmodern world in pre-modern caissons of love, grief, and transcendent longing." *
"I thoroughly enjoyed it." **

*Actual pretentious quote from the Los Angeles Times on Michael Cunningham's The Hours.
**This one's Grandma.

Zoe: 124; Universe: 0

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I need a win here, people. 

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