In February, my friend and fellow author Jan Morrill was kind enough to write a guest post for me right before the release of her new novel, The Red Kimono. Since then, the book has come out and I read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. I found myself bonding with each of her characters so fully that I had to know what happened. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Saturday evening, a local bookstore hosted Jan, having a “coming out” party for her novel, during which she read excerpts from the book and gave those of us in attendance more of the history behind the novel. There was a sizeable turnout, good food, and great entertainment—namely Jan, her family stories, and her research.
The striking thing about The Red Kimono is that its message transcends culture. I don’t have to be a Japanese American to relate to the characters in her book. My ancestors hail from Europe, and yet the themes in the novel are as pertinent to me as they are to Jan as they will be to you. Her work deals with racism, culture, compassion, and most importantly, family.
My writing always seems to come back to the core family dynamic, and this book looks at familial relationships from the point of view of three very different characters. It’s difficult not to place yourself in not only their shoes, but even some of the secondary characters, and wonder how you would behave in their position, ponder how things would be different if their family lives were different. I challenge you to read this book and not consider your own family unit from a different light.
Yes, this Saturday was indeed a joy. I had the rare opportunity to get a sneak peek behind the veil and learn what prompted the first of what I hope will be a series of novels by a talented and engaging author. I hope this post encourages you to do three things:
- Spend some time with your family. We always think there will be time to develop or strengthen familial bonds, but you never know when it will be too late.
- Attend a book release of an author you enjoy. You’ll learn so many things about the book and the author that you otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to.
- Buy Jan’s book, The Red Kimono. It’s an engaging read, and you won’t regret it.