So if you've been a regular reader of this blog over the years, you know that I am friends with an astoundingly talented writer named Ellen Meister.
Yes, I know. She's not only an amazing writer, she's drop dead gorgeous, too.
Anyway, February 17, 2011 is a really special day for Ellen - it's the release of her third book, The Other Life. It sold at AUCTION, people. That means various publishing companies fought for the right to own this book. Can you imagine the thrill? I get chills just thinking about it.
The cover is almost as gorgeous as Ellen :)
But, oh, the book. I was lucky enough to read the very first draft of this novel, and my immediate reaction was: Oh. My. God. The premise of the book is completely brilliant, and in typical Ellen style, there are laugh out loud lines mixed in with the tragedies we all endure and somehow manage to survive...if we are lucky.
Remember when I went on my Great Canadian Writers' Retreat and learned about "the elevator pitch" - the line which would sum up your novel in one sentence if you had 10 seconds to pitch your book to an agent who has the good fortune to ride the elevator with you? Here's Ellen's elevator pitch for The Other Life:
What if you could return to the road not taken?
The trailer, created by Ellen's equally insanely talented teenaged son, Max, will give you another glance into the magic that is The Other Life...
In case that didn't whet your appetite enough, here's a brief synopsis:
"Quinn Braverman is keeping two secrets from her loving husband, Lewis. One is that the real reason she chose him over Eugene, her neurotic, semi-famous ex-boyfriend, was to prove to her mother that she could have a happy, stable relationship with the guy next door.
The other is that Quinn knows another life exists in which she made the other choice and stayed with Eugene. The two lives run in parallel lines, like highways on opposite sides of a mountain. There, on the other side, the Quinn who stayed with Eugene is speeding through her high-drama, childless life in Manhattan. Here, the Quinn who married Lewis lives in the suburbs, drives a Volvo, and has an adorable young son with another baby on the way.
But the important part of the secret—the part that terrifies and thrills her—is that she knows it's possible to cross from one life to the other. So far she’s played it safe, never venturing over to see what’s on the other side. Then a shocking turn of events rattles Quinn to her very core, and she makes the reckless choice to finally see what she’s been missing.
There, she not only rediscovers her exciting single life, but meets the one person she thought she’d lost forever. Her mother.
But Quinn can’t have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants—the one she has…or the other life?"
Check out the heavy hitters who have already praised this book:
"How many wonder what their life would be like if they chose a different path? This is the crux of Ellen Meister’s riveting novel, THE OTHER LIFE. This inimitable tale is mesmerizing ..."
-Nancy C. Lepri, New York Journal of Books
"A powerful, moving and emotional story that is going to be a great read for book clubs."
"Intriguing, stimulating, original, unpredictable, frightening,utterly engaging--THE OTHER LIFE reminded me why I love to read. EllenMeister is a writer with a limitless future."
-Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST SURGEON
"Ellen Meister makes a big leap toward the literary in THE OTHER LIFE, a book where 'What if' becomes the most powerful question in the world. This is the thinking woman's beach read, a love story to the modern family, written with a deep and lovely understanding of mothers and daughters and the sacrifices they'll make for each other."
-Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING
"Gripping! A truly fascinating story of love, loss, and a magical place in between."
-Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author of HOPE IN A JAR
"In her riveting breakthrough novel, THE OTHER LIFE, gifted storyteller Ellen Meister doesn't just peek in on a young mother who straddles between love and doubt, she blows it open with a story of one who straddles two parallel universes, each with its own perilous decisions. It is a brave and honest exploration of the precarious limits of motherhood that will make readers wonder if Meister followed them with a probe and felt their racing hearts and hopes. If you have ever second guessed the biggest decisions of your life (and who hasn't), THE OTHER LIFE is a captivating homage to the question, does love conquer all?"
-Saralee Rosenberg, author of DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD and FATE AND MS. FORTUNE
"THE OTHER LIFE is a provocative and unique tale of the road not taken. Ellen Meister puts a magical, masterful spin on one of my favorite questions: 'What if?' What if you took both roads? You won't want to miss this one!"
-Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON
"I loved this emotional powerhouse of a novel that asks a daring "what if..." and manages to be as charming and funny as it is thoughtful and moving. Brava, Ellen Meister!"
-Melissa Senate, author of SEE JANE DATE and THE SECRET OF JOY
So I met Ellen almost ten years ago...oh dear God, how can that be...at Zoetrope studios where we were both intent on following our dream to be writers. I know I've published this pic many times, but it's from approximately seven years ago, I am thinking Ellen had just gotten her book deal for her debut novel, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, but it may have been right before...and of course this photo also features this year's debut novelist star, Susan Henderson.
But yeah, it feels like a lifetime ago...all of us gals met online and just clicked...since we were east coasters, it was only a matter of time until we'd meet up in the real world and the rest is history.
So I did get to read the initial draft of the Other Life, but like the rest of the world, I have to wait to receive my copy this week (though I'm hoping it comes today). I'll post an official review once I have the benefit of reading the finalized version. Below are links for you to get your hot little hands on the book...trust me...everyone in the universe is going to be talking about it for more than one reason...I don't want to tip my hand here, but one of the most interesting things about it is going to be how it is interpreted by various readers across the U.S. In fact, I am willing to bet it's every bit as lauded and controversial as A Prayer for Owen Meany...and dear God, if you haven't ever read Owen Meany, GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY OR BOOKSTORE NOW, but yeah, I am really interested to see what unfolds here. Let's just say the subject of choice is very open to interpretation here on many, many levels, which is what I love so much about The Other Life.
So where can you buy what is sure to be a NYT best seller?
Barnes and Noble
If you are lucky enough to be in the Long Island area, Ellen's launch party will be held at Book Revue this Friday night at 7PM. And if anyone reading this is from Philadelphia and wants to go and can drive me, I will pay all expenses, i.e., gas, bridge tolls, etc. I would kill to be there but without a drivers license, I'm kind of screwed :)
Anyway, I know Ellen would love it if you would hit the "Like" button on her Facebook Page and guess what? If you buy the book and live in the U.S., Ellen will send you an autographed book plate, free of charge! Details are on her FB pages, but look...isn't it pretty?
So go click on one of the links provided above or get yourself to a (preferably indie if you can find one) bookstore on February 17, pick yourself up a copy of The Other Life, and let's meet back here in a few weeks to discuss it. Cool? Cool!
I love you, Ellen. You're a superstar!