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Chandra's Blog

 

Entries in Portland (2)

Monday
Oct042010

On the road...

Here's what happens when a mom and three kids go on the road to promote the book:

 

--Mom stops exercising, unless you count hauling the three-year-old who suddenly won't be put down everywhere on her back or chasing down the lost boys at the Gresham grocery store in search of a promised sweet treat, or getting a few moments to ride on her oldest friend's new three-year-old roan. 

 

--the kids have ridiculous expectations based on much spoilage "What do you mean we're not stopping for ice cream?" as we leave our second-day at the chlorine-saturated indoor waterpark where they have ridden endless rides, slept in their own in-room kid cabin, watched "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and yes, already had ice cream and sweet treats. 

 

--the kids plow through their homeschool work, often finishing before our usual start time of 9am because of the time difference. This leaves us time for horseback riding, zoo trips, volcanoes and waterfalls.

 

--I get reports from the team back in NYC and Boston of good book sales, new publicity ("Working Mother") and continued CHOSEN success. I wake up to Google alerts of the multitude of bloggers talking up/reviewing this novel, as well as emails from readers just finishing it, cursing me for keeping them up long past their bedtimes. Thank you for reading.

 

--we see breathtaking parts of the country, like the blast zone of Mt St Helens by heli-tour, and Mutnomah Falls. The kids area also extra-impressed by the size of the NW slug on my friend's parents' patio, and the profusion of catchable crickets everywhere in their lawn. Not to mention... their new best friends have a Wii.

 

--I meet wonderful women at book club events. They feel like instant friends, and bring such insights to the reading and discussion of CHOSEN. We talk about motherhood, about expectations and reality, about adoption and current events, about universal fears and truths. I have always believed book clubs and discussion are the heart of readership for this novel and I have not been wrong.

 

--A handful of readers, librarians and others show up at my bookstore events. Thank you--spread the word and the love. 

 

Three more days here, and then California sunshine! 

 

Thursday
Jul012010

Kirkus Review -- lovely and thorough, SPOILER ALERT

Gripping tale of an open adoption that spurs a kidnapping, from debut novelist Hoffman.

Chloe Pinter thinks she’s found her ideal job: caseworker for Chosen Child, a private agency that matches impoverished birth mothers with upper-middle-class, often middle-aged infertile couples longing for a child to nurture. Chosen Child arranges lodging and medical care for the mothers, and supports them for six weeks after they’ve delivered their children into the hands of the adoptive parents. Jason, the ex-con boyfriend of Penny, also an ex-con scarred by meth use and a horrific rape, is ambivalent about giving up his and Penny’s child to Silicon Valley retiree John and his brittle wife Francie, mainly because the payment won’t be enough to realize Jason’s dream of escaping dreary, overgentrified Portland, Ore., to live in Mexico. Worse, when Penny gives birth to son Buddy (renamed Angus by John and Francie), she lapses into severe post-partum depression complicated by grief. Jason blames Chloe for his predicament, wrongly assuming that she is benefiting financially from the adoption. Chloe has her own relationship woes: Her fiancé Dan, an extreme sports nut, is not ready to settle down in Chloe’s bungalow on the fringes of one of Portland’s tony neighborhoods. He heads off to Maui to start a kite-boarding business, daring Chloe to follow. Meanwhile, Chloe finds herself dangerously attracted to former client Paul, who, with wife Eva, considered adoption before Eva gave birth to their son Wyeth. Exhausted and sleep-deprived from the unexpected 24/7 schedule of newborn care, Eva momentarily leaves Wyeth unattended in her car. Through a set of coincidences that Hoffman manages to render believable, Jason snatches Wyeth thinking he is Buddy, and the action accelerates. Although it takes too long for the major players (Chloe and Francie have both been threatened by Jason) to connect the dots, the strong descriptions of these driven characters trump occasional lapses in plot logic.

Despite a distressing number of dangling modifiers and comma splices, a heartfelt story well told.