Saturday, September 22, 2007
In Which Your Faithful Narrator Describes Lunch With an Author and Reviews Her Book, Again
I had the opportunity to have lunch with Kristen Laine, the author of the bookAmerican Band: Music, Dreams and Coming of Age in the Heartland this afternoon. I had emailed her a couple weeks ago after reading her book and told her how much I had enjoyed it. She emailed me back thanking me and from there we kind of had this ongoing email exchange.
She told me that she was going to be in the area and BN was going to be helping with a book signing, so last week I was able to meet her at the signing and visit for a few hours as we sold her books. It was good fun, cold, but good fun. We decided that we would meet up again today seeing how she was going to be at the Greenwood Band Invitational in good old Greenwood, Indiana. So we set up a time to meet at the local Panera Bread and we chatted about the book and writing in general and she grilled (okay, maybe not grilled, but talked to me) about my interest in editing. I even gave her may resume. She said she would get me in contact with her agent and her editor and I could talk to them about what they do and such. I guess we'll see what happens with that.
I've written about the book American Band before. I did a quick Google search on the title and discovered a few interesting reviews about the book, all positive. My favorite one came from popmatters, though I'm not sure I like the fact that they wrote that "...American Band is Friday Night Lights for the geek set..." that's a bit disparaging and kind of backhanded insult. Though, I do agree with them that it does have the feeling of a Friday Night Lights, or another great Hoosier classic Rudy. In short, it is a feel good book, but it does take you on a journey and at times it is not necessarily a journey you might want to go on. I found myself rooting for these kids and could easily identify with them even though I was never in the band. And you know, there was never a once-in-band-camp moment which was nice. Its good see American teens portrayed in a positive light, dealing with real problems and not running away from them, and stepping up to take on challenges.
Is it just band kids and their families? No. As I can testify. As I said, I was never a bandkid, but I found myself identifying with the kids Laine wrote about. Granted, bandkids and their families might identify more strongly with aspects of the book than I did, but the feelings and emotions and even the challenges these kids face, particularly Grant, are universal. It really is worth a trip to your local bookstore to pick this book up.