Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Chat with Barbara Delinksy


Click here to see Barbara's post

I am thrilled to tell you that I won a contest by telling people about Barbara Delinsky's new book, WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS, and they in turn emailed and let her know I told them about it! The contest was called SOW THE SEEDS meaning I had spread the word (seeds) about her new book WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS. Well, it certainly wasn't hard as you will see if you read my review that follows below.

Because a plant nursery is a key setting of the story, my prize was a gorgeous basket filled with goodies from Barbara. (Note the photo above) Filled with books on how to care for your garden (with my oh-s0-not green thumb I needed those!), a gardening apron, a lovely hand painted flower watering can, some excellent trimming shears, a lovely mug, a t-shirt, a water bottle, one of Barbara's books from a while back that I hadn't read, and more I can't even remember. However, the best part had to be the thirty minute telephone call with Barbara, one on one!

I was so thrilled, a little nervous, and having talked with Joshua Henkin of MATRIMONY two nights earlier at my book club meeting, I was feeling quite special! Barbara Delinsky has to be one of the nicest human beings on earth. She immediately put me at ease with her friendly manner and we had a wonderful 29 minute talk (I saw the minutes when I hung up and it seemed so fast as it zipped by that I was surprised). She gave me some great advice when I asked her about writing as well as just talking about what it was like to be a Mom and Grandmom, and planning her one of her son's weddings while still writing and making appearances with the new book. Bless her heart. We both shared the regret of doing so much that our love of reading was often cut short with not much time for it! I feel truly blessed to have spent that valuable time with her... and Barbara Delinsky...THANK YOU! Bloggers, friends, and those of you who helped me win, do NOT miss any book by this dear lady....everything she writes has substance and is done with class and care. And now, let me review....


In the tradition of extraordinary, challenging stories, Barbara Delinsky gives us another thought-provoking account in WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS. This time a family is faced with what is probably one of the hardest decisions loved ones might ever be faced with. How each member of the Snow family deals with the situation they regrettably find themselves in makes this a book you will not be able to put down.

WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS tells of Molly and Robin Snow, sisters who live together but are as far apart in every other way as sisters can be. Robin is a world-class runner who at 32 is on the brink of making it to the Olympics. Always in the limelight, grabbing all the attention including that of their mother, Robin is racing toward a dream of athletic fame and achievement. Molly, on the other hand, has a love of life and living things, best exemplified in her career in horticulture working in the family business that is called Snow Hill Greenhouse. Molly’s other “career” is supporting her sister by timing her running practices and taking her to different meets.

In the beginning of this family drama, Molly, the youngest of the three Snow children, with brother Chris being the middle child, is home when she is supposed to be with Robin on a training run. Robin is dealing with the fact that she and Robin have to move out of their apartment and Robin is not much help. When the phone rings, Molly ignores it so that she can shower and assumes it is Robin and will meet her shortly. However, another phone call alerts her that Robin is in the hospital following an accident. With no other information and with their parents flying home from a trip, Molly races to the hospital to deal with the accident, all the time complaining to herself about Robin probably having had another sprain or pulled muscle.

Upon arrival at the hospital, reality hits Molly as she discovers that Robin had collapsed and was found by “a Good Samaritan” as the man is referred to for much of the story, who gave her CPR until the medics came. Molly enters Robin’s cubicle with trepidation and her worst fears are realized as she sees Robin hooked to a ventilator and is told she had a massive heart attack and has not regained consciousness. This is something Molly can’t comprehend of her strong, athletic sister. She calls her brother and as their parents land, they are told to come to the hospital. All the while, Molly is blaming herself as she feels if only she had been there, this would never have happened. Molly’s emotions are all over the place as she feels fear and guilt, especially as she believes she has always come second in her mother’s eyes—never measuring up to the star quality of her brilliantly talented sister. Finally, with all the family there and Molly’s mother in a rage as she is sure it was someone else’s fault because nothing could be wrong with her perfect daughter, they get the grim news that Robin has indeed had a massive heart attack and lack of oxygen has probably caused irreversible brain damage.

What follows is a careful character study of each member of this family as they go about dealing with Robin’s condition in very different ways. Molly, meanwhile, learns as she packs as well as when she talks to Robin’s friends who call, that there are some discoveries about her family that she can’t believe or understand. Information about her sister and her family that has long been kept hidden emerges and Molly is torn apart deciding what to do with these revelations. As Robin remains comatose and further tests just strengthen the diagnosis that nothing can be done, Molly becomes the strength in the family as they grapple with what to do for Robin, and Molly must make some difficult decisions.

As readers will find in a book you can’t put down, these are characters Delinsky makes you come to care about deeply. The whole dynamic of this family is revealed and torn apart before coming back together to deal with an ethical issue of life support and when it should or should no longer be used. Mother Kathryn can’t face the reality of her once strong daughter not coming back to them. Brother Chris faces problems at home with his wife as well and withdraws. What the Snow family finally decides and how it affects them and those around them is something that readers will talk about and carry with them for a long time. A very emotionally charged, highly recommended book, WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS is just one more rose in Barbara Delinsky’s ever growing best-selling garden of hits!

Submitted to BOOKIN’ WITH BINGO by K. H., Bingo, March, 2009


bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh! That is so exciting. I would have been a nervous wreck before the call.

Bingo said...

It was exciting and I was nervous staring at the phone. But I think having interviewed Joshua Henkin for MATRIMONY by phone and then talked to him by phone at our book club two nights earlier helped. AND she was so very I have found every author except one that I have dealt with...they are all regular down to earth people like us!

Anonymous said...

The basket is beautiful! Good review, too - it sounds very interesting!

Cheryl said...

Congrats. You did a nice review. Enjoy your gardening

Shelly B said...

Congrats on the win; that is so cool! Barbara Delinsky is a favorite of my mom; I'll have to tell her about this one!

loves6cats said...

Congratulations on the win! You must have been so excited.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Wow, that is so cool! What a wonderful opportunity to be able to talk books, writing, and life with such a successful author!

Wrighty said...

That is the BEST prize!! I would have been nervous too. I've only talked to authors online and email and that was a huge thrill, I can't imagine talking on the phone. That's so great!

You asked on my blog how long I had been doing this, I started my blog the end of August or beginning of September. My blog is four months older than yours and you have way more stuff going on at yours. I've never blogged before and I'm just doing it for fun so I'm taking my time and learning as I go. I have a lot of "firsts" still coming up too. I haven't had a contest or interview yet but will be soon, along with my first two blog tours. I only have 1/2 the followers you do too. I enjoy having followers very much but I'm not keeping track of any blog stats or anything. I guess it depends on what your purpose is for blogging and what you hope to accomplish. I think you've done a lot in a very short amount of time. I hope you're having fun with it because you have a nice blog! Enjoy and good luck!

Bingo said...

Thanks for your reply and nice comment. Yes, it was a thrill. Funny thing is I had spoken to Joshua Henkin (MATRIMONY) on the phone also prior to his call to our book club. I have a simple form that I send to authors for interviews. First few times I sent it via contact on their websites and just asked if they minded filling it out and explained it was for my blog and how I had read and reviewed their book and wanted to post it all on my book blog. As I told them, it can't hurt to ask. I have only had one not answer me back. But Josh Henkin said he preferred to do it by phone and we set up a time and I nervously set up a little tape recorder. He couldn't have been nicer. So he was first and then I won this thing with Barbara Delinsky, and that was great!
As for our blogs I think there is someone who started the same time as me and I thought it was you. You are the 4th blogger who I have heard from today about our blogs getting crazy and losing focus. My focus has been to serve my passion for reading and writing. So, as the others I spoke to today all said, we are cutting back.I think the followers is just because I do a lot of giveaways and that gets them an extra entry so what does it really mean? I would hope they follow but? I added a counter just the other day after almost doing it 3 months just because I was curious. I want to just sit back, read and write for fun and cut the crazy deadlines. Your blog is great and I think you have the right idea. So for anyone who might read this, I hope we can all do this for the reason you originally went into it for. Enjoy it and thanks again, Wrighty and everybody!

Alyce said...

Congrats on winning! This book sounds so good! I'm going to have to add it to my wishlist. :)

Bingo said...

It is good but I haven't read anything by Barbara Delinsky I haven't liked and I have read several of her books!You can't go wrong.