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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?

My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »
  1. $16.77 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Love Me Back

    Merritt Tierce 9780385538077


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Lennox has commented on (3) products.

Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life by Philip Simmons
Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life

Lennox, January 13, 2014

This book is nothing short of a treasure. The author, who was diagnosed at age 35 with Lou Gehrig’s disease and told he had five years to live (he died eight years later at age 43), wrote the 12 essays that comprise this book as a celebration of life in the face of death. It is not a set of self-help rules for overcoming tragedy or a series of moralistic lessons. Instead, it’s a distillation of the insights and observations of a professor of literature and creative writing, a scholar of the world’s various religions, and a longtime student of Eastern meditative thought and practices on how to live life to the fullest. Interspersed with ideas from Thomas Merton, Meister Eckhart, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, and the Dalai Lama (among others), are discussions of issues raised by the Bible, George Orwell, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, T.S Eliot, and Ralph Waldo Emerson (to name but a few). The author’s ability to distill wisdom from such eclectic sources is profound. His effortless ability to blend it with detailed observations of life in rural New Hampshire, the beauty of nature and its seasonal manifestations, and reflections on his own physical deterioration is spellbinding. That he can incorporate all this with a self-deprecating and wry yet generous sense of humor makes this book pure alchemy. It’s worth its weight in gold.
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Lonesome Animals by Bruce Holbert
Lonesome Animals

Lennox, January 13, 2014

A literary masterpiece largely unnoticed by critics, Lonesome Animals is set in eastern Washington in the 1930s, where the bleak landscape is the background for a series of flamboyant and grisly murders. Russell Strawl, a sheriff as dry and tough as the jerky he carries in his saddlebags, is called out of retirement to find the killer. The characters are memorable, the suspense is gripping, and the themes of violence and the power of myth are worthy of lengthy discussion. But the star of the show is the writer's elegant and splendid prose. This author deserves a place in the revisionist Western pantheon right next to Cormac McCarthy.
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When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
When She Woke

Lennox, August 4, 2013

Readers familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter will have no trouble identifying the parallels in Hillary Jordan's novel about illicit love. In this futuristic version of Hawthorne's morality tale, Hannah Payne becomes the lover of a married man of the cloth. She becomes pregnant, and rather than bearing a child who would incriminate her lover, the widely respected head of the global Church of the Ignited Word and America's Secretary of Faith, Hannah has an abortion.

Abortion is illegal in this dystopia, and those who are convicted of the crime are punished by being injected with viral DNA which turns their skin "the solid, declarative red of a stop sign." Other crimes warrant other colors, but the stigmatized "chromes" become societal outcasts, bearing the signature color of their transgressions for everyone to see.

Blood-red but not bowed, Hannah sets off on a series of adventures that take her from a halfway house whose proprietors try to inculcate in her the puritanical social and religious doctrines espoused by the government (no separation of church and state in this society, nosirree) to an underground railroad implemented by some covert but rebellious and prickly feminists. Along the way, Hannah endures various forms of social ostracism and cruelty, including kidnapping and attempted rape, has a lesbian affair, gains then loses (but will she regain???) a friend who is also chromed, and reunites with Reverend Dale at least long enough to tell him a thing or two about love and truth.

In short, this morality tale is long on political and religious diatribe but short on character development, dialogue, description, and believable plot. It reads like a mutant and shallow version of The Scarlet Letter (or Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale) and might have been better suited to the format of a comic book. After all, the colors of the "chromes" and the stereotyped villains against whom Hannah struggles lend themselves to pictorial depiction. In this non-literary format, they might even be entertaining.
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