Sunday, September 9, 2007

Renee Rosen's "Every Crooked Pot"

Renee Rosen's debut novel is Every Crooked Pot, a coming of age story about a lovable misfit born with a disfiguring birthmark covering her eye. It was named one of the Summer’s Hot Reads by the Chicago Tribune and received a starred review from Booklist.

Rosen applied the "Page 99 Test" to the book and reported the following:
Page 99 of Every Crooked Pot finds us smack in the middle of an argument held during a holiday family dinner and instigated by a visit from the Goldman’s eccentric Cousin Ricky, who believes that meditation is the answer to all of mankind’s maladies. He has even convinced Nina that meditating can heal her disfiguring birthmark.

Does this pass the test? Well, it does capture all the main characters in one scene and it does touch upon Nina’s quest to be normal which, along with her relationship to her father, is the driving force behind the novel. The rest is up to the reader to decide!

Page 99:

“And you want to know why? Because deep down inside, you know it’s nothing but bullshit! That’s why you have to preach it. You’re trying to convince yourself more than anybody else ‘cause you don’t believe it yourself.”

If this was true, did that mean my eye wouldn’t be cured? I pushed my plate away.

My grandfather got up from the table and took his plate back into the kitchen. My grandmother called after him to stay away from the
gribbenes, the pan drippings. “You don’t need it, Sy,” she said, leaning back in her chair, watching him to make sure.

“Mitch!” Lissy set her water glass down hard.


“Stop shaking!”

“Shssssh, shsssh…” My grandmother reached over and squeezed Lissy’s wrist. “I mean it, Sy,” she said, still straining toward the kitchen, “stay away from that. It’s all fat — and you don’t need it!”

“And you know what your problem is, Art?” Cousin Ricky was saying now. “You’re so narrow-minded, you don’t even let yourself imagine what could be.”

“What you mean, Ricky, is that I’m not blessed with the kind of ignorance that lets me believe in hope certificates. You’re kidding yourself. You think everything’s going to work itself out magically. You don’t have to take responsibility for a goddamn thing. You’re counting on magic, Ricky. Nothing but goddamn hope certificates.”

“HOPE CERTIFICATES! I’ve cashed in on every one of them!”

“Yeah, by selling out on your wife and kids. Admit it,” my father pressed on, “just admit you walked out on your family!”

“Let’s just drop it, Artie, will you do that for me, please?” My mother tried keeping peace.

“You know what that does to me, Ricky? It makes me sick! It makes me absolutely sick to my goddamn stomach!”
Read an excerpt from Every Crooked Pot and learn more about the novel at Rosen's website and her blog.

--Marshal Zeringue