Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Miss Portland by David Ebenbach

What a great read! We all loved this thoughtful book about a woman struggling to find her path despite recognizing that others might just be correct in thinking that she is a bit crazy. 

Does that sound depressing? Oh no, not this book. Somehow this search is lively, fun, light and rewarding. There are tears and disappointments, but they all are part of the journey that thankfully, leads forward and up. Great characterizations, great atmosphere, and weren't we lucky to have a chance to talk it all over with the author himself, David Ebenbach. 

This is the right time to thank our hostess, Fiona Ross for not only having us all to her lovely home but also arranging this author event with her friend from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. We had once before had a lovely event with David, to discuss his collection of stories called Into the Wilderness. He was kind enough to come back. Fiona and I are still kicking ourselves for not getting pictures! 

What a great conversation too. David was very open about his process and inspiration and also about the way one gets a book published. He is kind, thoughtful, creative (obviously) and interested in all our opinions. That's the way to our hearts! 

As for the book, honestly we did all love it. Zoe was a believable character, and David did an admirable job of creating a realistic portrayal of Portland. In fact, he told us that he used Google Maps and a bike riding app to get her escape exactly as it should be, even when she should be going uphill or down. So those people who know Portland (Maine, if you weren't sure) will recognize the trip. 

As for Miss Portland, I thought of the title in the beauty pageant way, others as took it to be "I miss Portland" or I was going to Portland and went the wrong way and never got there. And according to David, all interpretations are correct.

 Zoe in some way represents a community, an example of seekers in every community, so she can be "Miss Portland". And she also comes to Portland for a new life, to make a success. And yet within days she knows her choice is wrong and she flees, and so she has "missed" Portland. And her journey has taken her away, to a dream of her childhood. Does that sound cliched? It's not, really, it is lovely and fresh. 

Miss Portland, by the way, is a diner in the city. The cover photo is taken by David's mother, of the original location .  

Aren't we lucky to have such a lovely evening with a wonderful talent who tells us all? Yes, we are. Thank you so much David, and of course thanks again Fiona. 

And so on to October's book, by Jodi Picault, Small Great Things. I think we are at Ashley's, and will confirm. November we had planned a change, a Sunday meeting at the river, but it looks like our schedule will have to go back to normal. Stay tuned for updates! 

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