In this disarming debut, Brian Strause has written a vastly entertaining novel
about an American family transfixed by a series of mysterious events. From a
comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio, emerges a story of rebellion, faith and
hope, bridging the cultural gap between those who believe in miracles and those
who wish they could.
Monroe Anderson - as quiet on the outside as he is sardonic and alive on the inside - has spent most of his eighteen years trying to fly beneath the radar. If he can remain invisible, he believes, his sadistic older brother, a rising golf star, might not torment him, his workaholic father, a renowned litigator, might not notice him long enough to be disappointed, and his mother might not have to struggle so hard to find a hopeful word. The only people who glimpse the real Monroe are his girlfriend, Emily, and his eleven-year-old sister, Annika.
On the night of his senior prom, Monroe finds Annika floating facedown in the family pool. He dives in and rescues her, but not quickly enough to prevent her from slipping into a coma. As the family copes with this crisis, Monroe's mother turns to religion, his father turns to liquor, and Monroe himself must decide what's worth believing in, what's worth fighting for, and, finally, who he wants to be.
By turns humorous and heartbreaking, personal and sweeping, familiar and extraordinary, Brian Strause's mesmerizing novel takes readers on an unforgettable emotional journey into America's heartland.
There's a bow tied around my neck and I'm dying for a smoke.
Tonight's the senior prom and there's no way I'm going to get through this ordeal sober. I wouldn't be going at all, but I promised my girlfriend, Emily. She said the prom only happens once in your life and I'd regret it if I blew the whole thing off. "Humor me," she said. On the off chance she's right, I agreed to take hera decision I now regret.
I figure if I catch a buzz before I pick her up, maybe the night won't be a total disaster. Emily always says she can't stand being around stoners, but then again she can never tell when I'm stoned.
Besides, there's no use complaining now. I have the whole thing lined upthe black tux, the white limo, the red corsage. I even rented a room at the Hyatt. It's something you're supposed to do, I guess. It's not like I think some cheesy hotel room will make Emily want to sleep ...
Strause's first novel is fast gathering momentum as one of the 'it' books for 2005. With its teenage protagonist, Maybe A Miracle has the potential to appeal to readers from the older teens through to adults, both men and women; and with subject matter that runs the gauntlet of hot topic subjects, including religion and politics, this is also a shoe-in for book clubs who enjoy a little contention in their reading matter...
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (368 words).
Brian Strause was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and now lives in Silver
Lake, California. In the interview, which you can read in full at
BookBrowse, he answers a number of questions including the inevitable one asked
of first time authors - whether Maybe A Miracle is based on his own
experiences. To which he replies:
"They say to write what you know, but unfortunately the life I've lived isn't exactly chock-full of drama. And indeed, I grew up in Columbus on an idyllic street in a storybook neighborhood. But it's not like Blue Velvet, where it was sordid once you start peeling back the layers. It was all quite painfully normal. Which is all to say, my own family while incredibly ...
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Not since The Catcher in the Rye has literature seen a young man with as much contempt for hypocrisy and phoniness as Patrick Scully, the nineteen-year-old narrator of this outrageous account.
A remarkable and confident debut---an endlessly surprising tale about appetite and miracle, all four humors in abundance, and human ecstasy of every sort.
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