Sometimes when people read a book of mine and tell me it reminds them of some other book, especially if I have not read that book, I get in a snit. I am well aware that this reflects very poorly upon me. Please don’t judge.1 So when I was told that Liar was reminiscent of Jacqueline Woodson‘s If You Come Softly2 my first reaction was pursed lipped muttering to myself about the special petal-ness of Liar and how it’s not like any other book ever.3
But after the snit phase comes the getting curious phase. I grabbed a copy of Woodson’s If You Come Softly and read it on the plane back home to Sydney.
Wow. Just wow. I wept for about an hour after finishing. Actually, not true, I started weeping before I finished it. If You Come Softly is an exquisitely written, beautiful, deeply moving and heartfelt book. Much of it is set in areas of New York City that I have at least glancing familiarity with.4 Woodson gets it all right and does so astonishingly economically. This is one of those jewels of a book with nary a word out of place. Yes, beautiful writing makes me cry. I am a sap.
That anyone would even think of Softly in the same sentence as anything I’ve ever written is extremely flattering. I am even more ashamed of my snit fit.
I don’t want to tell you too much about the book except to say that it’s a love story. As long time readers of my blog will know I have a total paranoia about spoilers. I much prefer to know as little about a book going in as possible and I assume my readers feel the same.5 No spoiling it in the comments either!
If you haven’t already read Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly get hold of a copy immediately. It’s a wee slip of a book and won’t take you long to read but I guarantee that it will stay with you for a very long time. I plan to get hold of the sequel, Behind You, as soon as I can.
- Well, not too harshly. [↩]
- And I’m very embarrassed by this but I can’t remember who told me. [↩]
- Which is utter rubbish. Any book that was not like any other book ever would be completely unreadable. But like I said I get snitty. [↩]
- I lived in Washington Heights for several months back in 2000-2001 and have friends in Fort Greene. [↩]
- Despite all evidence to the contrary. [↩]