Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Up All Night with Kaylie Jones

This scenario happens more often than I care to admit: I pick up a book or galley to read on my 40-minute subway ride home. I get engrossed. I eat dinner--book in hand. I take a few minutes to tidy up the kitchen--and I'm back at it. At around 2 am, I read the last page and turn off the light--but I can't sleep: My head is still in that book. At 7 am, I wake to the alarm--and puffy eyes.

I spent last night with Kaylie Jones, author of the upcoming memoir Lies My Mother Never Told Me and the novels A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, Speak Now, and Celeste Ascending. Kaylie told me about growing up as the daughter of James Jones who wrote--among other classics--From Here to Eternity. I met the famous writers (Bill Styron, Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris, and many more) who orbited around her father in Paris and the Hamptons. Kaylie showed me how her father helped to shape her as a writer and how keenly she felt his loss. I witnessed her difficult relationship with her glamorous and alcoholic mother. She told me about her own struggle to overcome an addiction to alcohol, to be a supportive wife and mother, and to flourish as a writer beneath the looming shadow of her famous father and her emotionally abusive mother.

No wonder I couldn't stop reading.

You and your students can spend a few minutes with Kaylie Jones by watching this video.

1 comment:

  1. Diane is absolutely right. This is one of my favorite, favorite books on the F09 list, and like Diane, I work across a number of imprints. For those of us who love books, its a peek into an incredibly famous writer's world. As I was reading the memoir I couldn't help but think of Revolutionary Road. The Jones were living the kind of intellectual, freewheeling, creative life (in Paris!) that the Wheelers so desperately wished for themselves. But as Kaylie Jones reveals, behind the facade was a legacy of pain and addiction--and love.

    Jones's compelling story propelled me go out and buy her father's books. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of Lies My Mother Never Told Me. A terrific, fast read!