My husband's uncle approached me at a family reunion. "You know I've tried to read your caregiving book," he said, "But I just couldn't do it."
Although he was not either a caregiver or dealing with someone suffering dementia, he had made an attempt to read the devotions I wrote for caregivers in My Mom Has Alzheimer's. "I liked the funny stories," he said, shaking his head, "...but Alzheimer's...ugh!"
My first book was written for those undergoing the rocky transition from past relationship roles into a becoming a caregiver for a loved one who has dementia; not what you'd sit down to for an afternoon's light reading! It is like medicine that can be lifesaving when prescribed for someone suffering pain, and I do have a file of emails from grateful caregivers that attest to its effectiveness in providing balm for wounded spirits, but is not needed for a person who isn't undergoing the trials it addresses.
I'm concerned now that those who read my first book think they know how I write. I'm worried that I'll be pigeonholed as someone who writes about "serious subjects." An author to be avoided if you need a bit of escapism from the real world!
Well, welcome to the world of Karola, Kansas! Mrs. Springer slams her car into reverse and careens across two lanes of traffic and onto the curb inches from the large glass window of the Farmer's State Bank of Karola. Marshal Jonathan Rosencutter dances with the pretty ladies who form a line for that privilege on Saturday nights at the Smokey Bar and Grill. The head of the schoolboard dons a chicken costume in an ill-advised foray into the realm of whimsy at Halloween, terrifying a group of first graders. A kindergarten student hears a teacher's sound effects from an adjacent stall in the girl's restroom and dubs her "Mrs. Tinkle."
This is not a relentlessly sober book.
There are heartwarming and heart-rending moments to be sure--these are inevitable when telling the story of a young woman's first year of teaching. But if you like James Herriot's stories where the three protagonists play off one another in a humorous way, you'll like this book. If you enjoy the warmth and close knit feeling of community in a Jan Karon novel, you will enjoy this book. I admit it is a feel good book with a happy ending, and you'll also find some timely issues that just don't go away for us in education such as budget cuts and testing mandates. But mostly I just hope it becomes one of those "old friend" books that are opened time and again because the stories are engaging and the characters have become familiar.
Try it, you'll like it!
You can win a free copy of The Children Are Tender by entering the April giveaway at my website!