Tuesday, September 8, 2009 This week we're going to continue our celebration of authors and books. Last week you got acquainted with first time author, Wendy Townsend; today You'll learn about her novel: Lizard Love by Wendy Townsend, Frontstreet Books 2008 http://www.amazon.com/
Not long after Wendy and I met, I visited her home and got to meet her unusual (for me) pets. Wendy is conscientious and caring about all aspects of a lizard's life and habitat, and it was a treat to be welcomed into their living space to meet them personally. Getting to touch such exotic reptiles, hold one, and have one take food from my fingers was thrilling!
The depth of Wendy's love and concern for her pets came home even more after I read her book, Lizard Love. Her love for these exquisite creatures is completely realized in the pages of her book. I was especially struck by how well this author developed the thoughts and emotions of a young girl on the cusp of emerging from adolescence, reluctantly shedding the skin of childhood to become a teen who accepts the unwanted changes she sees in herself. I love how seamlessly the author created the metaphor of a snake shedding its skin to the way the character of Grace sees herself. I don't want to give away more of that parallel, but those transformations were incredibly beautiful in both the protagonist and the snake she saves. It is a book about lizard love, and a book about change on many levels--from the physical to the deeply emotional. It's an excellent choice for girls going through the trials of growing up.
Author Beckie Weinheimer (Converting Kate) http://beckieweinheimer.org/ said this about the book: "To me, Lizard Love is a love story about Grace and her lizard, Spot. I love this book. . .because adolescence is such a hard time, and a time where it is important to feel heard, understood and loved. . . "
Here's the starred review from Booklist: *"In her debut novel, Townsend displays a remarkable narrative gift. . .[H]er language really comes alive when talking about the natural world; her sensuous herpetological descriptions are unflinching, evocative, and positively elegant. Even the minor characterizations are full and complex, and the relationships drawn among them resonate with the honesty of adolescence. Though Grace's naivete seems surprising at first, this story will still find enthusiastic audience among young people walking the daily tightrope between fitting in and growing up."
Lizard Love is a Bank Street College List of Best Books 2009
A quick a reminder that Wendy is donating a copy of her book, and has graciously agreed to personalize it to one of you lucky readers who post a comment. (See last week's post below for details!) The next post will begin the interview. You'll discover why/how Wendy became a writer, and her inspirations, and much more!