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Oct/Nov Book Club: Maynard & Jennica by Rudolph Delson

20141003_135937The readers have spoken, and our first book has been chosen! Get yourself a copy, a blanket, and a sippin’ beverage for these getting-cold fall evenings and get ready to dive in.

Here are the first 450 words, in case you need a little coaxing:

This comedy has five unequal parts, and what follows is



It is quite brief, and purely introductory. 

(next page)

JOAN TATE, tipsy after another revelatory lunch with her son, illustrates her point (early August 2000). 

Here’s a famous story. And remember that I am his mother, so the fact that I am the one telling you this–that tells you something. It’s a famous story, and it shows you what kind of a person Manny is.

The year was—. Well, Scott and I had just sold the place on 72nd Street, so it was 1973, and Manny would have been nine years old. We were living in a three-bedroom on West 10th. It was rent-controlled and had twelve-foot ceilings, and you don’t want to know what we paid. We paid one-fifteen a month.

And when we lived on West 10th, Manny would wait for the school bus on 6th Avenue, on the corner, in front of Balducci’s. He went to school uptown, and the school had its own buses. So Manny and Dave Fowler and the other kids whose parents lived in the Village would all wait on that corner together, in front of Balducci’s, for the little squat yellow bus. There was an air vent that blew warm air onto the sidewalk, and on cold mornings in the winter the kids would all fight over who got to stand under that vent. Dave Fowler, with his little backpack, would time the other kids on his wristwatch so they would all get their turn.

Except Manny, who didn’t want to stand under the vent, and who never wore a hat, and who wanted to wait for the bus twenty feet away, in ice and snow, shivering.

Well, I asked him about it , and he said, “The air comes from Balducci’s cheese counter. It smells like what Dad eats.” Scott had this one unpasteurized Camembert he liked, which smelled like–which you just had to have smelled. Manny said, “Smells are the result of microscopic particles in the air, and I do not want microscopic particles of cheese hitting my head like meteors.”  I told him that it he would just wear his stocking cap, then the smell wouldn’t get in his hear. And he said, “Stocking caps are undignified.” Well, I was his mother. I knew better that to try to argue with him about that, but I did ask him whether there was any kind of hat that he would consider dignified. So that he might wear a hat in the cold. And he said, “A bowler.” That was how we settled it. I made Scott take Manny uptown to find him a bowler.

A second narrator,”JENNICA GREEN, who never has any luck on Valentine’s Day, describes the evening of her boyfriend’s arrest (mid-February, 2001),” picks up the story a paragraph later and a third narrator, “ANA KAGANOVA, safe in the Berkshires and inspired with a fraudulent scheme, decides how to conscript her husband into her plot (September 12, 2001),” concludes the first part of the book.

I’m most intrigued by Ana’s story thus far (kind of sounds like Gone Girl with a financial gain slant in the aftermath of 9/11) and, not going to lie, am harboring hate for Jennica already. Maybe I’ll come around to her.

A few contributors and friends are planning to post their reflections to the book around November 15. If you’d like to contribute your thoughts, please leave a note in the comments so we can contact you.

Can’t wait to hear what you think….Happy reading!

Fair warning: This book contains explicit language and (I’m guessing, though not certain) explicit scenarios.

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  1. Dec/Jan Book Club: No-Pressure Reading for the Holidays | Nashville Moms Blog - November 12, 2014

    […] If YA is not your thing, check out Maynard & Jennica by Delson. We read it in Oct/Nov and, if you have time to lose yourself in a little narcissism and […]

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