By Tall Poppy Writer Kelly Simmons

Once again, a bookseller hands me a book and says, “I think you’ll like this,” and I wrinkle my nose.  I don’t like the cover, I don’t like the title, and I can’t quite wrap my head around the way she describes it to me, which is:  A John Irving kind of saga, but Irish and gay.  What?  Are there gay Irish bears and gay Irish boxers?

Well, no.

However, I do love John Irving, despite his being a man, and I like the bookseller, and she is insistent.  Then she adds what she thinks is the piece de resistance:  It’s by the author of The Boy in The Striped Pajamas.  What?  A young adult author?  Something inside me is screaming noooooooooooo.  But she is making a sad puppy face,  so I buy the book.

What I discover, as I dive in, is that you can think the title is stupid and the cover is boring and still fall hopelessly in love, as I did with The Heart’s Invisible Furies.

It IS about the life of a young Irish gay man, his adopted parents, and his birth parents.  But it’s also about Irish history, and friendship, and parenting, and betrayal, and missed opportunities.

And mostly – it’s just heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure.  I cannot remember the last time I laughed so frequently and cried so hard reading a book.  And that’s the thing I want most – the full emotional spectrum, with or without bears.

About Kelly

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.