My Novel Reviewed by The Advocate

So Sunday morning, as I was trying to sleep in on my last day of freedom before returning to the grind of the day job, the phone rang. It was my mom. The Daily Advocate — out of Baton Rouge — had reviewed The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. A real book review, in print, where my mom could see it. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. Even better, Advocate Books Editor Greg Langley liked it. He didn’t love it. But he liked it. Even better than that? Not that the book is exactly complex, but he got at what I was trying to do behind the story. Here’s a little taste:

There are large issues on display in this book which can’t be resolved. There are smaller issues which can be resolved. The key complication is, of course, Father Steve’s attraction to Vicky. In that sense, this book is a romantic comedy and a pretty good one. Wheaton keeps you hanging around to the end to find the answer. Along the way, he gives you some pretty good questions as well.

Read it all.

Nice Things Said About My Book

You never know what might happen when you send advance reader copies of a novel out into the world. Some might end up in the garbage. Some might end up being sold on eBay. Some might snag you some publicity.

In the case of one copy of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival (B&N, Amazon), it resulted in a thoughtful and positive review from Josh Sternberg, a fellow Brooklynite, PR ninja, Twitterer and blogger. Go check it out. And I’m not just saying that because Josh really liked the book. Okay, so maybe that’s part of the reason I’m saying that. At some point, I’m sure I’ll get a bad review and only then will we know if I’ll actually link to such things. I’d LIKE to think I’d be man enough to do it.

Then again, if someone does write a bad review it will obviously be because he’s some dimwitted subliterate buffoon who doesn’t like me for political/personal/religious/hygiene-related issues, so you never know.

In other advance-copy news, a copy was requested by Sarah Wagley Branton down Opelousas-way to be auctioned off during the Rotary Club’s live TV auction to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club as well as the Opelousas-Eunice Public Library. While the book didn’t get as much as John Ed Bradley’s “It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium” did last year, it did go for over $50 to Charles Dore. Not like I expected it to do anything close to a book about LSU football (a book I highly recommend, by the way).

That’s all I have for now. I could go on an unhinged rant about Borders still insisting that the book was written by someone named Liz Wheaton, but I’ll save that for another day.

The First Review Is In

I’d planned to get in a few non-novel related posts, but Publishers Weekly went and reviewed The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. (Third review at the link.)

Sure, I don’t care about reviews. I don’t care what the critics think. I also don’t care much for oxygen or Jack Daniel’s! I saw the subject line from my editor this morning reading “FW: PW Review!!” my cheeks clenched a bit. (But the two exclamation points were enough to give me hope.) Here’s the verdict:

Wheaton writes with an infectious energy, and his affection for the characters and culture is authentic without being overbearing or cheesy. Do the bon temps rouler? In Wheaton’s hands, they sure do.”

What Is Wrong With People? Movie Edition

So last night I went to see District 9 at the United Artist Court Street Stadium 12. If you’ve been to this theater, your probably already know where this is heading. This, after all, is the same theater where I’ve witnessed:

1) A family bring in a full Chinese takeout meal consisting of soup and noodles, which they slurped throughout the movie. Oh. The movie was “United 93.”
2) A woman bring in six kids under the age of 12 to watch “The Watchmen.”

Any rate, I thought I’d be safe. I was wrong.
Continue reading “What Is Wrong With People? Movie Edition”

For Your Summer Reading Consideration

Remember the days when you could just sit down and read an entire novel in one sitting? You found a book that just drew you in and excited you, perhaps delighted you, made you laugh or just scared the living crap out of you. And you either had the time — or, as you’ve grown older — made the time. Maybe you blew off work or social obligations. Maybe you just said, “Fuck it. I’m not sleeping tonight.”

I’ve done that twice recently, first with Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel and just this past Sunday with Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North

Continue reading “For Your Summer Reading Consideration”

RUB BBQ Chafes A Little

After revisiting RUB last week, I’ve reconsidered my ranking of New York barbecue joints. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Wildwood Barbecue, saying I’d place Wildwood in a three-way tie with Dinosaur and Blue Smoke, all three of them below RUB at No. 2 and Hill Country at a far superior No. 1. That’s going to have to change.
Continue reading “RUB BBQ Chafes A Little”

NYTimes Is Right: Hedda Gabler Sucked

Went to see Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler a few weeks ago. Awful. I don’t want to completely blame the cast and director here. I think the source material is extremely dated and doesn’t age well — it struck me as the sort of sentiments a 17-year-old Goth Girl would consider so very, very deep.

At any rate, reviewing the play for The New York Times Ben Brantley writes:

How wise of Christopher Shinn, who did this new adaptation of Ibsen’s oft-produced ode to the frustrations of modern womanhood, to substitute “feeling dead” for the more traditional “boring myself to death.”

In one of those reviews that puts into words many of the things that frustrated you about a piece but you were unable to vocalize without sounding like a good, Brantley goes on to STEAL MY BRAIN:

The forever fresh-faced [Mary Louise] Parker, one of our most delightful actresses, has traded in her usual air of easy, quirky spontaneity for the robotic petulance of an I-hate-everybody adolescent in a yearlong sulk. With her hair darkened, her face ghostly pale and her frame skeletal thin, her Hedda brings to mind a valley girl who’s given up cheerleading to be a goth because it’s way cooler and it matches the place her mind’s at now.