Okay, so it’s been a few weeks now since one Shelly King had her awesome debut — and she’s been busy traveling the globe and signing copies of the beloved tome for her adoring public. (Or maybe just chilling at home and marveling at being a PUBLISHED AUTHOR who can now work on the sofa in her PJs! Yay Shelly! Go Shelly!)
But if you still haven’t managed to pick up the amazing The Moment of Everything, well here are five (more!) reasons why you must do so, STAT! (Sorry, child of doctors thing coming up. Not that my parents ever said STAT, because they were pediatricians.)
5. Indie Bookstore LOVE! Okay, if you’re reading this site, you clearly love books. And who doesn’t love books about books? Right, certainly not you! So you’ll love this. Although Maggie, the main character in The Moment of Everything, dubs the place “a pile of books and a cash register,” I wish that the Dragonfly, the cluttered, cozy bookstore that Shelly creates here, was a real place. Because I’d so be there now. Also: the David and Goliath thing going here is super-fun, but very much a reality.
4. The details. The scar on Maggie’s knee. Her relationship with Dizzy. It’s all painstaking, yet reads totally casual. That’s craft right there. The backstories of these characters, the way they react to things, make you want to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea, and hang out a while. They’ve all got something interesting to say.
3. A story within a story. Yes, the star of this show is one Maggie Duprès. But no less stellar are the characters Maggie encounters in the margins of a well-worn copy of of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Henry and Catherine, who connect via words that will leave you swooning. I mean: “Love finds for us what we do not know we want.” You’re on the edge of your seat as Maggie unravels their tale. Oh! And the twistiness, of course. Delicious!
2. The diversity. Not every reader will notice this, but as I came across Dizzy, then Avi, Dae-Jung, then Rajhit, I was amazed! It’s so rare, even these days, to see a character of color simply exist on pages, just like any other, with her own quirks and desires and dilemmas — even when the reality of the world (Silicon Valley, in this case!) calls for it. So it was refreshing that Shelly chose to be inclusive, without aplomb, just because she could be.
1. The main character. This is one Southern-fried geek girl! I love her self-deprecating nature, and the fact that she’s (way) stronger than she thinks. And she says things like, “I wasn’t ready to sleep at a prince’s doorstep and lose my voice.” The juxtaposition here is riveting — the very specific world of Silicon Valley (haha, Dungeons and Dragons game nights!), which Shelly draws from her own experience living and working in the area — and the irrepressible quirkiness of the South that repeatedly invades it. “Sugarbritches.” Sweet tea. As a wise man advised, “go find your inner geek. And don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t love you for it.”