Novel Weaves Compelling Family Drama #Thursday Book Feature

Summer of 69

by Elin Hilderbrand

Copyright 2019

 

This is the story of one family during the summer of 1969. Jesse, thirteen, dreads spending a long, lonely summer on Nantucket with just her mother and grandmother. Her brother Richard is fighting in Vietnam. Her sister Curby, a college student, has a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard, and her other sister Blaire is married and pregnant in Boston.

This story is told from alternating third person points of view of most of the characters and is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the moon landing. In the author’s note at the end, she explains how this story relates to her own life and events in the news during that time.

Despite this author’s nasty habit of inserting too much narrative in scenes containing dialog between two or more characters, I was drawn into the story right away. I was right there with the characters, walking on a beach or eating in a fancy restaurant. Jesse’s grandmother reminded me of my own grandmother’s eccentricities. I was also reminded of when my younger brother first learned to play tennis.

The narrator in the Audible version is excellent. I like how the last part of the book, which is set at Thanksgiving in 1969, ties up most loose ends. Being a musician, I can appreciate how each section is titled after a song popular during that time. With summer drawing to a close, this is one more book you should read this season, especially since this year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Monday Musical Memory: Under the Boardwalk

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

When you read this, I’ll be on my way to Jupiter, Florida, where I plan to spend a relaxing, fun-filled week with my brother and his family. In past years when I’ve been there, I’ve enjoyed walking on the beach, feeling warm sand between my toes and the whoosh of cool water as waves wash over my ankles. I’ve also walked in the water, tried my hand at boogie boarding, and eaten many wonderful picnic lunches. If Bill were still alive, we might be sitting on a blanket under a boardwalk having some fun just like in this song. Click the link below to enjoy.

 

Under the Boardwalk

 

How about you? Have you ever been to a beach? Did you enjoy walking along the shore and in the water? Did you ever swim? Have you ever tried surfing or boogie boarding? Did you bring your own lunch or buy hot dogs and French fries from a vendor? Have you ever sat under a boardwalk on a blanket with someone you loved?

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

In Praise of Joe by Marge Piercy

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

, Marge Piercy tells us that although coffee is disgusting at times, she can’t function without it. She starts by talking about how she prefers it hot but will drink it iced, tepid, or rancid from a vending machine if necessary.

She compares its blackness to that of bark from an apple tree or swamp water, perceiving its richness as that of tannin, a substance of plant origin used for tanning and in medicine. The scent of coffee, rising like steam, kicks her brain into gear.

She talks about drinking it in coffee bars or out of thermoses or in cars or stadiums or on a beach, explaining how it goes off in her head like a siren in the morning and radiates throughout her body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s latte or cappuccino. Coffee keeps her moving.

She explains what her life would be like without it. She wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. She would continually press the snooze button and creep through her days. Coffee stimulates her speech and makes her feel human every day. In her last line, she emphasizes the idea that the inky blackness of coffee fuels her writing.

 

Note: Because of copyright concerns, I cannot post this poem here. You can read it on Your Daily Poem.

 

Your Turn

 

I triple dog dare you to take some time to explicate your favorite poem the way I did above. Read the poem a time or two and write down what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Like a detective, gather facts. Then compile your ideas into a cohesive review. If you do this on your own blog, please leave a pingback here so I can read it. Good luck. Thanks to Lynda McKinney Lambert and dandeliondiadem for inspiring this.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Throwback: Brian Hyland: Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Since I’m being featured this coming Saturday on another blog, and I plan to re-blog that then, I decided to post my weekly music feature today instead of a book feature. According to my Amazon companion, today is National Bikini Day, among other things. Here’s a song to commemorate that for those who prefer minimal clothing. Enjoy, and have a great day.

***

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

White Christmas in Florida (A Poem)

I’ve been to Florida a couple of times to spend Christmas with my brother and his family in Jupiter. It didn’t feel the same, but it was fun, despite the fact that I got sick both times. This year, I decided to wait until January to fly south.

Now you may wonder how it’s possible to have a white Christmas in Florida. Well, try thinking outside the box. Thanks to Nancy Lynn, a member of my group, Behind Our Eyes, for writing a story that inspired the following poem. Click the title to hear me recite the poem and sing a song that goes well with it. Wherever you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope your days are always merry and bright.

***

WHITE CHRISTMAS IN FLORIDA

 

Christmas Eve, we’ll go to the beach,

walk in white sand and water,

fly kites, try boogie boarding,

eat sandwiches while listening to the surf.

It won’t feel like Christmas,

but I’ll be there

if only in my heart.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Florida Loons

In my last third Thursday poets group meeting, we were prompted to write some loons. A loon is similar to haiku, written in one of two ways: syllables with the first line having five, the second three, and the third five, or words with the first line having three, the second five, and the third three. I chose to write three loons about my recent visit to Florida, using the word three five three method. Below each loon is a description of the event that inspired it.

 

***

 

downtown jupiter pub

with one or two drinks

stranger in photo

 

My brother Andy, his wife Christina, and I went to a festival where food trucks lined the streets for blocks, selling all kinds of goodies from tacos to ice cream. After we ate our fill, we wandered into a bar. When Christina took a picture of Andy and me with her phone, upon studying the photo, she discovered that a stranger standing behind me was also captured. Nevertheless, she posted that picture on Facebook moments later.

 

***

paddling our canoe

down the lazy loxahatchee river

shy alligator appears.

 

We were in a narrow part of the river, hoping to spot some wildlife. We found more than we bargained for when Christina spotted an alligator about six inches away from the boat. She snapped a picture, and then she and Andy back paddled as fast as they could to get to safety. Christina said the alligator seemed shy so we probably weren’t in any danger. I hope that’s the closest I ever come to being consumed by one of those creatures.

 

***

 

tug of war

with a loving energetic doxhund

in glowing firelight

 

One warm evening, Andy lit a fire in the pit on the patio, and we sat around, drinking, chatting, and listening to music. Max brought me a dirty sock to throw for him. When I reached for it, he tried to pull it away from me. I tugged back and so it continued.

***

walk on sand

feel cool, refreshing ocean waves

sit on tree

 

While walking on the beach, we found a tree stump that appeared to have been washed ashore. Andy thought it may have come from The Bahamas. The first time we saw it, the stump was almost totally submerged, but when we returned a few days later, it had been washed farther onto the bank so we could sit on it and stick our feet in the ocean. That felt heavenly.

It’s your turn to write a loon or two or three, using either method above. Please feel free to share your results below.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order from Amazon