Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING: A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

 GIVEAWAY ENDED
FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING
BY JANE MCCAFFERTY

ABOUT THE BOOK:
An engrossing tale of a marriage that’s falling apart and a wife who will stop at nothing to keep it together.

From their early days in college, Evvie and Ben were drawn to each other by feelings of isolation stemming from their wounded childhoods, passionate idealism, and zeal for music. Sheltered by their love, they weathered the challenges and trials of the imperfect world around them. But as the years passed, they grew apart. Now Ben has his sights set on a completely different kind of future—alone, or with someone else.

Convinced that Ben cannot live without her, Evvie begins to unravel, as she obsessively devises ways to reclaim the love that she cannot let go of. She gambles on a spectacularly dangerous scheme, one that may ultimately have devastating consequences.

Jane McCafferty has written a highly original, utterly beguiling, and emotionally satisfying novel about marriage. Told from alternating viewpoints, this gripping, psychologically astute, and madcap novel illuminates the power of love to define and transform our lives, for better or for worse.

PRAISE FOR FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING:
“[An] evocative read. . . . A gimlet-eyed story of divorce and love, which bristles with pain and beauty. . . . Set amid the gritty splendor of Pittsburgh, the novel masterfully conveys both the youthful love that Ben and Evvie once shared and why it has fizzled.”
Marie Claire
 “With the plainspoken beauty of her prose and the convincing way the novel inhabits each protagonist’s consciousness…McCafferty has given us a story of shattered illusions, essential as long as humans have dreams from which they need to wake up.”-- Cleveland Plain Dealer  “McCafferty’s second novel coins its own brand of heart-searing suspense. . . . Fans of Anne Tyler, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and other top-drawer domestic fiction writers will enjoy this unpredictable, offbeat novel.”Library Journal  “[A] deeply moving portrait of the dissolution of a marriage . . . [with] heartrending scenes illuminating the pain of separation, both for the one leaving and the one left.”Booklist  “[A] sensitive, offbeat second novel. . . . [that] offers some nicely observed insights into guilt and despair . . . until heartbreak and delusion lead to an act of lunacy that will redefine the landscape. Everyday tragedy takes a surreal spin in this . . . soulful, idiosyncratic tale.”Kirkus “Jane McCafferty knows how marriage can go stale, how it can turn and curdle despite a couple’s best intentions and efforts. Wise, wry and surprising, First You Try Everything is about the mad things we do to hang on to lost love.”— Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone and The Odds “The tools in Jane McCafferty’s anatomy lab: big heart, big brain, jars of funny bones, twine of poetic prose. Under the microscope one finds expanding constellations, other times the minute dna of words combining beautifully with other words. Either way the reader sits back in charged happiness at the discoveries.”— Nancy Zafris, author of Lucky Strike and The Metal Shredders  
“Told in direct, plain-spoken language, Jane McCafferty’s first novel gathers genuine emotional depth and complexity as it follows the lives of two middle-aged sisters, Ivy and Gladys, and the 17-year-old girl, Raelene, who befriends them. 

— New York Times Book Review
 “[This] first novel focuses on the life-altering effects of love, loss and abandonment... McCafferty gives readers a...view of the nature of personal transformation.” — Publishers Weekly 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jane McCafferty is the author of the novel One Heart and two collections of stories, Thank You for the Music and Director of the World and Other Stories, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the recipient of an NEA award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. She lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING by Jane McCafferty could be simply described as a tale of two people growing apart and how one of them can’t bear to let go. But there is nothing simple about FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING. McCafferty has given readers such intense, spellbinding characters, that no matter how hard the story is to read at some point, you must keep turning the pages. Evvie and Ben were quirky personalities when they met and their life seemed perfectly planned out until Ben began to “grow up” and away from Evvie, and she was unable to grasp the reality of his infidelity and decision. Grasping at straws again simplifies Evvie’s determination to keep her marriage intact because what she does goes quite against the norm.

With both characters having troubled home lives growing up, it is really Evvie who took the hit head on; and her head was never the same again! She begins to go from obsessive to fanatical and beyond. Ben tries so desperately to cut Evvie out of his life so he can go on to lead a normal life with a new love but he doesn’t realize how far it will push Evvie. People around Evvie, especially Ben, just can’t seem to come to grips with Evvie’s steady decline and her own silent screams for help. McCafferty tells the story from both Ben and Evvie’s points of views so readers will almost be able to get into their heads. However, in some instances, I am not sure it is a safe place to go. I found FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING to be a book I had to finish even though at times I was so unhappy about what I was reading. I believe the characterizations were so well written that one’s feeling for them becomes a very real thing to the reader. To say it was a bit disturbing I believe is appropriate. However, to say that this should keep you from reading FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING would deny readers of an exceptionally well-written, remarkable character study.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO DANIELLE AND THE FINE
FOLKS AT HARPER COLLINS, I HAVE ONE
 COPY OF FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING
TO GIVE AWAY TO A LUCKY WINNER  
  
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IN CASE YOU WIN!
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COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT YOU READ ABOVE ABOUT FIRST YOU TRY EVERYTHING THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK, AND DON'T FORGET YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

+1 MORE ENTRY:
BLOG AND/OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE AND LEAVE ME YOUR LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE WAY THAT YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG. IF YOU FOLLOW MORE THAN ONE WAY, YOU MAY COMMENT ON EACH BUT DO SO SEPARATELY SO THEY ALL COUNT FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY


+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON A CURRENT GIVEAWAY THAT YOU HAVE ENTERED ON MY BLOG. IF YOU ENTERED MORE THAN ONE, YOU MAY COMMENT SEPARATELY FOR EACH TO RECEIVE MORE ENTRIES
 
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, FEBRUARY 29
 GOOD LUCK!

119 comments:

debbie said...

juI love it when a book has characters so well written, it can actually make you uncomfortable to read it. Thanks for your very good review of it. It sounds like a very good book, and I would really like to read it.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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Steve Capell said...

I whispered in my conscience mind, "Go for it ... add a comment ... write why you would like to read this novel." The book sounds interesting and at the same time emotional, but that isn't the main reason placing my name in the hat. I had no idea that the Drue Heinz award even existed. With a little research I found The award is open to writers who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. Get this ... the award has a monetary award of $15,000. Then to top all this off she is recipient of several other awards and prizes. Interesting ... I would love to read this author's writing style. GREAT review and sprinkled with awards is the reason for dropping my name in the hat for this one. Thanks for the opportunity.

steven.capell@gmail.com

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Tore said...

I would like to see how she keeps the marriage from falling apartment. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read the book. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

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