| By Tamara Butler |
The human spirit is resilient and can triumph against incredible odds. This month, Thorndike offers five large print titles that celebrate this human experience and its ability to overcome trauma, loss, and suffering, and still come out on top. Matthew Perry’s highly anticipated memoir delves into his addiction and recovery, while Constance Wu shares her perspective as an Asian American woman in Hollywood and the expectations placed upon her. The experiences of a Jamaican immigrant family in the 1970s is masterfully told through connected stories about making it in America while not losing your own identity. Also, the deaf community and their challenges and persistence in a hearing world are explored through students at the River Valley School for the Deaf. Lastly, a spirited Caribbean woman travels to Paris in the late 1800s to build on her successful rum business—only she cannot obtain her inheritance until she is married. As a woman of color doing business in a late nineteenth-century man’s world, she has her work cut out for her.
A Caribbean Heiress in Paris: A Historical Romance by Adriana Herrera
USA Today Bestselling Author
Entertainment Weekly’s Best Romance Book of 2022
Two Starred Reviews
The Exposition Universelle is underway in 1889 Paris, drawing merchants from every corner of the globe…including Luz Alana Heith-Benzan, heiress to the Caña Brava rum empire. Luz Alana set sail from Santo Domingo armed with three hundred casks of rum, her two best friends and one simple rule: under no circumstances is she to fall in love. In the City of Lights, she intends to expand the rum business her family built over three generations, but buyers and shippers alike can’t imagine doing business with a woman…never mind a woman of color. This, paired with being denied access to her inheritance unless she marries, leaves the heiress in a very precarious position. Enter James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick, who has spent a decade looking for purpose outside of his father’s dirty money and dirtier dealings. Ignoring his title, he’s built a whisky brand that’s his biggest—and only—passion. That is, until he’s confronted with a Spanish-speaking force of nature who turns his life upside down.
Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry
A Most Anticipated Book by Time, Associated Press, Goodreads & USA Today
In an extraordinary story that only he could tell—and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it—Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening—as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the book fans have been waiting for.
Making a Scene by Constance Wu
Booklist Starred Review
A Most Anticipated Book by Time and Associated Press
Through raw and relatable essays, Constance shares private memories of childhood, young love and heartbreak, sexual assault and harassment, and how she “made it” in Hollywood. Her stories offer a behind-the-scenes look at being Asian American in the entertainment industry and the continuing evolution of her identity and influence in the public eye. Making a Scene is an intimate portrait of pressures and pleasures of existing in today’s world. Wu spent most of her childhood suppressing her bold, emotional nature, but she found an early outlet in local community theater—it was the one place where big feelings were okay—were good, even. Acting became her refuge, her touchstone, and eventually her vocation. At 18, she moved to New York, where she’d spend the next ten years of her life auditioning, waiting tables, and struggling to make rent before her two big breaks: the TV sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and the hit film Crazy Rich Asians.
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
Longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Three Starred Reviews
A major debut, blazing with style and heart, that follows a Jamaican family striving for more in Miami, and introduces a generational storyteller. In the 1970s, Topper and Sanya flee to Miami as political violence consumes their native Kingston. But America, as the couple and their two children learn, is far from the promised land. Even as things fall apart, the family remains motivated to survive. Masterfully constructed with heart and humor, the linked stories in this book center on Trelawny as he struggles to carve out a place for himself. After a fight with Topper—himself reckoning with his failures as a parent and his longing for Jamaica—Trelawny claws his way out of homelessness through a series of odd, often hilarious jobs. Meanwhile, his brother, Delano, attempts a disastrous cash grab, and his cousin, Cukie, looks for a father. As each character searches for a foothold, they never forget the profound danger of climbing without a safety net. Pulsing with vibrant lyricism and inimitable style, sly commentary, and contagious laughter, Escoffery’s debut unravels what it means to be in between homes and cultures in a world at the mercy of capitalism and whiteness.
True Biz: A Novel by Sara Nović
New York Times Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
Two Starred Reviews
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history final, and have doctors, politicians, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever. A story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation, and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. This is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.
About the Author
Tamara Butler is an acquisitions editor with over 20 years prior experience in public and academic libraries. She has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Buffalo and a master of fine arts in writing from Lindenwood University. When not checking out the latest Southern gothic novels, Tamara loves to spend time on New England beaches and hang out with her two energetic beagles.