By Tall Poppy Writer Kelly Simmons
Don’t like the cover. Don’t like the title. Yet love the book?
Every so often, I wrinkle my nose at a book cover I find dumb, or derivative, or obvious, or just an icky color that reminds me of having food poisoning.
Yet I pick it up and open it anyway.
Sometimes being repelled means something, like: Don’t be so judgy, Kelly. Someone spent years writing this. Give it a TRY.
Such was the case with LESS, by Andrew Sean Greer. I know, a MAN wrote it. And I the cover felt like a Mad Men rip-off, which irritated me. But then I gave it a second chance. What is happening to me? Have I gone soft? How did I get mixed up in this tome with this dude?
Simple. I opened it because I thought the title was crazily bold to the point of absurdity. So short. So negative. And yet, huge, in caps. Who would do such a thing? Who would pound a reader over the head with this title? Madness!
But then, curious, I read a bit. Then a bit more. In a real live bookstore. And I thought, oh, yes, this one, with the weird cover and odd name is for me. And I was so, so right.
I usually prefer female authors by a landslide, but this mid life crisis road trip mixes universal themes of love, grief, and career angst brilliantly, and simply, and with a healthy dose of humor. There were paragraphs in it that made me stop and sigh with appreciation and recognition. And the moment I finished it, I wanted to start all over again.
Which is the biggest compliment I can give. They should have titled it MORE.
Kelly Simmons is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Standing Still, The Bird House, One More Day, and the just-released The Fifth of July. In addition to Tall Poppy Writers, she’s a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association and The Liars Club. She has a lot of children, dogs and cats, but not much jewelry.