One thing I love about living in Grand Rapids, Michigan is the vibrant writing community. Agents, publishing professionals, bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and writers of all sorts reside in this great town.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of these fine Grand Rapidians Susie Finkbeiner and review her new book.
I cannot remember when and where I met Susie. I know it was a few years ago probably around the time my writers group launched the first Jot Conference. At that time she had published one book and was writing another. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading A Cup of Dust, her latest novel.
A Cup of Dust was birthed out of Susie’s love of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, and the Dust Bowl. It’s told from the perspective of Pearl Spence a ten-year old girl who lives in desolate Red River, Oklahoma.
As I read the novel I could not help but think of The Walking Dead. That may sound like a strange correlation, but Finkbeiner’s description of a dull, grey world was incredibly vivid. And this is not dystopian future, it’s dystopian past. The Dust Bowl actually happened.
As a father of four, I imagined how terrible it would have been to raise children in a bountiful environment that turned hostile.
Peal reminds me of Opal Buloni in Because of Winn-Dixie. If you’ve read Kate DiCamillo’s enchanting story you know that means she is curious, clever, and never at a loss for words. Curiosity gets the best of Pearl in several instances and one in particular results in a blood filled face to face meeting with a drifter named Eddie.
Unbeknownst to anyone in Red River, Eddie has a sinister plan to destroy Pearl’s cozy family. I felt like I swallowed an ice cube every time I saw his name on the page.
The Spences are tough enough folk even when tragedy after tragedy befalls the populace of once proud Red River. Pearl is acutely aware of these troubles and her parent’s struggle to keep food on the table.
A Cup of Dust is told through the eyes of a child but this is no kid’s book. It’s a story about hardy people doing their best to keep a good home together during a time when innocence is lost.
I’d recommend you go grab a copy. Not because I know Susie and would support her book anyway, but because she’s a great writer, period.
You can connect with Susie at her website http://www.susiefinkbeiner.com/
And you can buy her book for Christmas for your reader friends HERE.