The thing about writing a book with a porcupine in the title is that you set yourself up to be the butt of a lot of puns.
“Sounds prickly,” people like to say, when I tell them that my next novel is called THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH.
“The truth can be prickly.”
“What a prick.”
You get the drill.
A friend even made this meme for me yesterday on Facebook:
It’s hard not to take the last part a little personally, no? 🙂
The bottom line is I love that people love this title, that it sparks creativity of thought. What I’m hoping is that people will love the book just as much. The biggest issue I see getting in the way of that is that it’s going to be a challenge to adequately explain this book to potential readers.
It reminds me, in a way, of A.S. King’s Everybody Sees the Ants. Not the writing, though I’d love it if that were true, as I adore A.S. King. I mean that both books are filled with “stuff” that readers will (hopefully) find interesting but are a bit hard to explain in a sentence.
Openly Straight has a very clean hook: An openly gay boy from Boulder, Colorado, is tired of being thought of as the gay kid, decides to attend an all-boys school across the country where he will try to recreate himself without the label gay. Hilarity ensues.
Out of the Pocket, likewise: A closeted high school quarterback is outed against his will and unwittingly becomes a national story. He must come out to his family and team in the bright spotlight, and he learns about what you can, and can’t, change.
But Porcupine? It’s a tough one to explain: A New York City boy is forced to spend the summer before senior year in Billings, Montana, taking care of his estranged, ailing father. There he meets a girl who… ugh. I’m still miles away.
Another tact: A straight white male teen becomes fast friends with a gay black female, and the two teens team up for a cross-country caper… Nah. That’s true, but it doesn’t catch the nuance of the meaning behind the trip.
Or: A boy goes on a quest to reunite his missing grandfather and his dying father, and learns the meaning of human connection along the way.
Close, but not close.
I promise you if you take a look you’ll be glad you did. ‘The best I can do is say the following:
This is a book about feeling disconnected and learning to connect. That connection can be social, spiritual, or familial.
It’s a book about heredity, and how we become our parents even when we don’t want to, and how to handle that when your family has a history of addiction.
It’s a book about how some of us cover our emotions with humor, and how hard it can be to dig out from under all the junk we put out so that people can’t get to know who we really are.
It’s a book about finding family outside of your family of origin, if and when your family of origin rejects you for who you are.
It’s a book about figuring out what God is and isn’t. There are no answers herein, but there’s a lot about how deciding that God doesn’t exist is just as limiting as being certain that God does.
If the elevator ride is long enough for me to make this pitch, I think folks will be interested. I mean, I’d read that book. But if it’s just to the third floor, frankly I’m going to have to hope that the title and wonderful cover are enough to hook readers into starting to read.
I sure hope they are!