Review: How Clarissa Burden learned to Fly

Manic Mommies Book Club Selection (June 16, 2010)

Synopsis: How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly is the transcendent story of a young woman who, in a twenty-four hour period, journeys through startling moments of self-discovery that lead her to a courageous and life-altering decision.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Recommend - This is a fun summer read with enough content to make the book discussion worthy (a good book club selection). 

We follow Clarissa as she moves throughout the day, the quirkiness that is her life and her husband will keep you on your toes.  She's trying to make sense out of what the expectations put upon her and how to persevere.  Ultimately she learns to accept herself and ownership of the situation.

Source: Review copy

To listen to our discussion, click on the green arrow below (this months call is edited down to just over 30 minutes).  If you would like to download the call, you will find all MMBC audio calls on the MMBC page.

Author Q&A:

Tell us a little about yourself: I live on a sandbar in the middle of nowhere with my husband (I’m a newlywed with a marriage not yet two years old) and four dogs. We have no full-time neighbors save for a few folks down the road. A mama bear and her cub live in the back yard next to the bay. I keep the dogs in at night because of coyotes. I love it here. It gives me all kinds of time to think. I love to cook and fish. I love bad TV and good books. I garden; trying to coax life out of the sand is a mad act committed by a happy woman. I bird watch. I teach folks who love words and who have stories they must tell. I work on environmental and family violence issues. And I’ve taken up genealogy; what I’ve discovered never ceases to amaze, clarify, and confuse.

Do you write daily? I surely try.

What was it like getting your first novel published? My experience was totally a-typical and was one of the few times in my life when all the stars fell into harmonious alignment. I was in grad school and my professor, Carolyn Doty, said I needed to send my thesis (my first novel Sugar Cage) to an agent. She provided me a list of five names. She said, “When the first person on the list rejects the book, send the manuscript immediately out to the second person.” That process seemed way too logical for my artist’s brain, so I gazed at the piece of paper and tried to divine which name proffered good luck. The third one down was Joy. Easy wheezie. I sent the manuscript to her and, low and behold, she loved it. Within about a month, she’d sold it to an editor at Putnam whose name was Faith. Both Carolyn and Faith have passed away, but I still have Joy in my life and my editor ever since Remembering Blue is named Deb. She has brought me great luck too. Perhaps it’s the three-letter thing that’s working for me.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? I think they’re very, very cool. I don’t own one but I sat beside a woman on a plane last weekend who had a Kindle. I asked her to show me how it worked. Pretty impressive, I must say. And I’m totally excited about the Ipad—I’m a big Apple fan. I don’t think books you hold in your hands will ever go away, but these new devices aren’t going anywhere either. They’ll become more sophisticated even as they’re used by future generations of readers who are totally accustomed to the virtual world. I also think that there’s every possibility that people will read more because where they go, so too does their library.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? Feed your mind: read, read, read.

What are you reading now? I reread the Great Gatsby once a year. And it’s that time of year again. Also, I’m looking very forward to reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.

Just for fun:
- Favorite Season: Spring. We’re on the migratory path for monarch butterflies so it’s pretty awesome. Also, an astonishing variety of birds migrate through here. For the same reasons, I love fall.
- Morning or night: Morning, definitely.
- Favorite ice cream flavor: Rum raison
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: Africa