Open Wounds

Starred PW Review

For about eight years I subscribed to Publisher’s Weekly. Every week I’d take a trip into the city on the subway and read the first half, then the second half on the way out. I skimmed most of the reviews for books that sounded good, or authors I liked, but I read this periodical like it was a life-preserver. I read about the deals and about the new authors. I read about bookselling and about the trends. I read to find agents to send my work to and I read for the editorials to keep up with the business of publishing.

After a while, maybe about the fifth year, when the pile up of rejections got bigger and my third agent went west with the sun, it became harder and harder to read it. It was a reminder of my lack of success. It was similar to an old friend that I would avoid because he would always ask me about my latest book and if I’d had any luck in selling it yet. Now he knew if I’d sold it he would have been told but he had to ask anyway. So after a while, years to be exact, I lost touch. This happened to a few friends. I’m ashamed to admit it but it is what it is.

So I stopped buying PW.

I said it was because of the cost. And it is a weekly so it’s near two hundred dollars – way too much to pay when the bill came around. But that’s not why I stopped buying it. I was losing faith in myself and my work. Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t looked on-line or checked out Publisher’s Lunch (I subscribe each month now). But it was just easier not to be reminded of the status of my newest book. Writing is a hard life. There’s no way around it and sometimes you have to protect yourself. So I did.

Yesterday my publisher called me to tell me I received a starred review in PW. My mouth dropped open and nothing came out. Then I said, “I can’t believe,” because I couldn’t. She told me to believe it and I could see her smiling through the phone line. “I wanted to tell you in person,” she added.

It’s a terrific review. One line really stands out for me, “Lunievicz’s impressive debut is a dark, often brutal story, balancing some of the meanest villains in recent memory with a beautifully portrayed historical New York and a movie-obsessed boy determined to overcome the hand life has dealt him.” Okay it’s the first line and it’s a doozy but the part “balancing some of the meanest villains in recent memory” really got me. Are they that mean? I lived with them for seven years so I don’t think of them that way but I guess they are. Of course I like the impressive, dark, often brutal, parts also. I also liked the last line ending with “… painted with equal brilliance and realism.” That’s gotta be good. Here’s the link to the review.

It’s a big review from a big reviewer. And it’s the first. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed and wait for the next round.

Maybe it’s time to buy a subscription to PW again. I don’t know. It’s still pretty expensive.

To come tomorrow: information about my Big Blend Radio interview on Sunday!

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