Each Thursday in honor of #TBT, I am going to feature book that I truly love, that helped shape me as a writer, as a woman, as a human.
“Anywhere But Here” a novel by Mona Simpson
I remember not being able to put this down. I am fascinated by mother/daughter stories—reading them and writing them. This one mesmerized me and made me want to write my own novel. Up to then I had been dabbling in short stories. When a teacher once commented that my writing reminded her of Mona Simpson, I almost swooned with joy.
The first two sentences hooked me: We fought. When my mother and I crossed state lines in the stolen car, I’d sit against the window and wouldn’t talk.
The tension was set up from the first two simple words.The whole novel explored this tension, this parting and coming back together between Ann (daughter) and Adele (mother). They were both such complex characters that I alternately loved and loathed and it made me realize how important that is to a story. No character (or real life person) is all good or all bad.
The story pulled me along but the sentences themselves left me dazzled. I’d set the book down, pausing, telling myself that this was the kind of book I wanted to write. It still is.