30 June 2015

Today's Read: When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

When We Were Animals by Joshua GaylordSuppose your town had a dark, secret rite-of-passage for all adolescents. Could you keep your promise to refuse to participate? For Lumen, things became complicated. Years later, living in another place and using another name, she tells us what she remembers.

For a long time, when I was a girl, I was a very good girl.

You should have known me then. You would have liked me. Shy, undergrown, good in school, eager to please. At the diner table, especially when my father and I went visiting, I didn't eat before others, and I sometimes went without salt because I was too timid to ask anyone to pass it. . . .

I did all my homework. I ate celery sticks as a snack. I went to bed early and knew that the shrieking outside my window had nothing to do with me at all.
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord (Hachette Book Group / Mulholland Books, 2015, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: rural middle America, modern times
  • Circumstances: Years after Lumen has moved away from home, she lives a conventional life, overprotecting her son, just like she's supposed to. But memories of her youth bubble up, and she wonders how the teen she was became the unremarkable wife and mother she is now.
  • Characters: Lumen/Ann (young & old); people from her childhood: father, friends, neighbors; people from now: husband, son, friends
  • Genre: coming-of-age with Gothic and thriller elements
  • Themes: secrets, family, social pressures, escaping one's past, self-discovery, marriage, love
  • Words & thoughts from reviews: dark, fascinating, emotional, Gothic, different, a story of how childhood experiences shape adult perceptions, well written, couldn't stop reading
  • My thoughts: I haven't read more than a few pages, but I'm intrigued by both Lumen's past and her present.

21 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 6/30/15, 6:31 AM  

That was a great hook. I would definitely read more.

Karen and Gerard 6/30/15, 6:40 AM  

Interesting title and liked your teaser. Made us want to know more so will look this one up on Amazon.

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/30/15, 7:32 AM  

I love the line about passing the salt.

Nadene Reynolds 6/30/15, 7:52 AM  

Hmmm this sounds like something I would read. Hope you are enjoying it. Here is mine
http://totallyaddictedtoreading.blogspot.com/2015/06/teaser-tuesday-17.html

Greg 6/30/15, 8:08 AM  

That last sentence jumps out- about the shrieking. Yikes. I wonder what's going on.

Claire Rees 6/30/15, 8:21 AM  

Loved the quick facts part above. This book seems like one I would really enjoy reading.

bermudaonion 6/30/15, 8:53 AM  

This sounds kind of creepy!

grammajudyb 6/30/15, 9:19 AM  

I am a bit reluctant. I don't read much in the thriller genre and the Gothic part puts me off a bit. I think I will wait to hear your thoughts when you finish it.

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/30/15, 10:19 AM  

You hooked me with those excerpts...and the facts you presented. From the title alone, I would not have picked this one up...so thanks for sharing!

And thanks for visiting my blog.

Vicki 6/30/15, 10:36 AM  

I like the teaser, especially the last sentence. I'm curious as to what is shrieking outside the window.

Suzie Quint 6/30/15, 10:54 AM  

The tone and what you describe puts me in mind of Shirley Jackson's story The Lottery, so yes, I'd be inclined to read on.

Kathy Martin 6/30/15, 11:00 AM  

Wow! Sounds good. My YA teaser this week comes from Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George. Happy reading!

Sandra Nachlinger 6/30/15, 11:17 AM  

The opening made me curious about how the character has changed. I'd keep reading to find out more about her. LOVE the example of being too timid to ask someone to pass the salt!
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

Literary Feline 6/30/15, 11:49 AM  

I do like the opening--it has me wanting to know more about the book and about Lumen. I would definitely keep reading.

Tribute Books Mama 6/30/15, 3:21 PM  

What was the shrieking about?

Emma Littlefield 6/30/15, 3:29 PM  

I do like the sound of this and want to know more!

Nise' 6/30/15, 6:21 PM  

I am intrigued!

Cleo Bannister 7/1/15, 3:20 AM  

What a great opening as it poses so many questions - she clearly isn't a good girl now! In what way? and what is the shrieking all about?

Topazshell 7/2/15, 9:21 AM  

Luv it. I can relate. Have wanted to read this one for a while.

Sharons Book Nook! 7/2/15, 7:22 PM  

Sounds like an interesting read. I'm keen to know more.

Daryl 7/6/15, 10:03 AM  

my curiosity is definitely tweaked

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