Caroline Bock - BEFORE MY EYES
A Special BOOK TALK with
Join the Maryland
Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America: A Special Book Talk with Caroline Bock
, author of the acclaimed
new young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES,
Press, 2014), about teens, mental illness and gun violence, and decisions and
consequences that change lives forever.
SUNDAY, APRIL 27
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Rockville Memorial Library
Rockville, MD 20850
Bock’s thought-provoking novel delves into the important issue of gun violence
in our country. The book facilitates a discussion among young people and
parents regarding the terror and prevalence of shootings, and also the ease in
which anyone can obtain a gun in this country.”-Jenifer Pauliukonis, Maryland chapter leader of Moms Demand Action
REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED AND SIGNED
COPIES OF BEFORE MY EYES WILL BE
AVAILABLE. A Donation will be made to Moms Demand Action with every book purchase
EVENT: FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
I own a cat.
However, I wrote a new novel, BEFORE MY EYES, with a
dog, a blind dog, named King, as a key character. He “sees” what others
can’t—particularly about his owner, 17-year-old Max Cooper, who is struggling
at the end of a long, hot summer.
Not only do I own a cat, but as an adult, I have only owned
a dog, a puppy, named Goldie, for three days, (and three very long nights),
until my husband and I realized that we weren’t ready for a puppy. We weren’t
ready for children either, but we were really not ready to take care of a
puppy. We were in our mid-20s and barely able to take care of ourselves.
We wouldn’t have children until sixteen years into our
marriage, and we would never have another dog. Over the years, we became
committed cat people, specializing in bruiser cats—big, bold, neutered male
cats—with old man names such as Marvin and Shelton.
Yet I wrote a second young adult novel in which the blind
dog metaphorically saves one character’s life, and is a key part in literally
saving others. I based his character on my brother’s dog, who is one of the
smartest and most empathetic of creatures, and who is also a black Labrador.
The reader reaction to King has been strong and
overwhelmingly positive. So I’ve
been thinking about the reasons. A dog belongs to family in a way that a cat does
not bother himself with being. In
a novel, a dog can be taken outside, can be the excuse for a walk (this happens
twice in my novel), can be critical to the play on a soccer field (also a key
scene), and can express warnings, fears, love—all of which King does in BEFORE
Cats, frankly, can’t be bothered with humans much of the
time; they aren’t anyone’s cipher but utterly unto themselves, at least the
cats, I’ve known. As Mark Twain noted, “If man could be crossed with the cat it
would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” On the other hand, Twain also looked
highly on dogs, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out
and your dog would go in.” At the end of the day, I find favor in both cats and
dogs, sometimes too, over man.
This time around I wrote about a heroic dog, a blind dog,
named in King in BEFORE MY EYES—a novel about teens, mental illness and gun
violence—appropriate for teen ages 14 and above, and adults of all ages. Read
the book and find out why readers are rooting for this novel—and for King.
P.S. Are you a dog or cat person? What is your favorite dog or cat in literature?
This is devastating. I just read The New Yorker interview with Peter Lanza;it's the first
insight into the teen--and Newtown murderer--Adam Lanza from his surviving parent.
At the very end of the piece, his father reveals that he wished his son was never born,"...Peter declared
that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he
became.'That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re
thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one
conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s
totally where I am.'”
But still, I have to ask the same question that drove me to write the character of Barkley and his parents in my young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES
. Why didn't Peter Lanza
"see" what was going on with his son? The article does go into some gripping detail about what he--and his ex-wife,who was murdered by Adam, did try to do -- but it was not enough.None of it was enough for all those teachers and children who were murdered.
young adult novel
about gun violence, mental illness, and three fragile teens -- and their
parents-- because I couldn't get out of my head the question: Why? And I couldn't stop thinking what do the people--friends, co-workers, and parents around these troubled teens know -- and what do they choose not to know? My novel is just out a few weeks but already people are debating how I
depicted the characters-- did I go too far? not far enough?
reading this New Yorker
story, what I want to do today: hug my children, talk
with them, make sure they are okay.
“Look for BEFORE MY EYES, Caroline Bock’s new young adult novel to spark big, important discussions about teens and guns and mental illness. Written in three compelling voices, teens each struggling in their own way, Bock captures a moment before, after and during a terrible tragedy, and makes us viscerally feel and think about the question all of us involved in the fight for responsible gun laws ask ourselves, “Why?” Moms—and their teens—will find this engrossing novel rich with characters and themes to explore. Read it. And get involved in Moms Demand Action in your state and community now.”--Jenifer Pauliukonis, MD Chapter Leader,
I am a proud member of MOMS DEMAND ACTION too.
Thank you for reading!!
You are invited to a virtual month-long discussion
of BEFORE MY EYES with author Caroline Bock!
Date: March, 2014
Venue: YA Reads for Teachers (And Any
Location: The United States
Here is the Goodreads book summary of BEFORE MY EYES:
From the author of LIE, a powerful new
young adult novel about a fateful Long Island summer and the lives of three
young people who will never be the same...
"GRIPPING, DISTURBING AND
"Every one of Bock's fragile
characters hides an unflinching inner backbone of steel. Impassioned and
moving." - Elizabeth Wein, bestselling author of Code Name Verity and Rose
Message from Rory M., moderator of the goodreads group, YA For Teachers (and Other Adults):
I'm thrilled to
have Caroline Bock as our guest this month! Let us know if we should expect you
on the discussion thread -- it is a book that will haunt you!
...and I hope you can join too....Caroline
My eight-year-old daughter lost another tooth this week, and she insisted that she still believed in the tooth fairy
. So the tooth fairy was contacted and replied with this note:
I believe in you…
And I’m glad you believe in me.
Stay forever young…
With love always,
Your Tooth Fairy
This note (and a few dollars) from the tooth fairy made a little girl very happy. Do you still believe?
Sometimes it's nice to know that simple things are still good things to believe in--like the tooth fairy.
P.S. If I had a fairy, it would be a book fairy, someone who waves a wand and encourages all to go read my new young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES, which is NOT at all whimsical, but as much adult as much as young adult. Look for BEFORE MY EYES everywhere books/ebooks are sold. Read it with your mature teen (age 14 and above) or just read it.
A poem dedicated to novelists everywhere
Another ordinary day—
The sun will rise across the fields.
The cold will parse the light,
on par for February.
My son will forget to zip or button
And I’ll remind him, adding:
‘Put on a hat,’
like my father always said to me
when it was cold or hot.
I’ll hear my father’s gruff
and it will make me happy in a way
that when he was alive it never did.
The teapot will shrill and
I’ll hurry it off the stove top,
hushing the boiling water.
I’ll press my mug,
with specks of tea
and milk and honey to my cheek, wondering what to make
for supper, and how I should
get to work today writing—
I don’t know what.
I’ll spot black birds
pecking at the ice-patched fields,
the school bus ruffling around
the bend, and my son loping
down the hill to the bus stop, and
it will be an ordinary day except
for the rush
that every novelist should feel
at least once in their lives:
today my book will be published.
-- Caroline Bock 2.11.14,
As the publication of BEFORE MY EYES, my second young adult novel, approaches
I have to turn to other writers to stay sane because publishing is an insane business. Here's a quote that I particularly like from a great American writer who drank too much, died of consumption, and left great writing behind:
"Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves-- that's the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives--experiences so great and moving that it doesn't seem at the the time anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just way that way before." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tales From A Hungry Life: A Memoir with Recipes
made me laugh out loud -- and cry.
It's the story of Maria and her six brothers; a stray dog or two; a garage
band; an Italian father and a Puerto Rican mother, and a raucous, high-spirited
extended family -- that turns from
a rollicking tale to a heartfelt one of loss and remembrances (no spoilers here
- you must, must read this memoir).
The setting is a character too -- Queens,
New York, with all its diversity, comes alive with this writer's deft hand. The
short, vividly written chapters all culminate with delicious recipes and spot
on funny advice for any family. I loved the opening, a tragically-comedic
chapter about the author's family home being struck by lighting, which ends
with a recipe for blackened chicken.
I come from a large Italian-American
family on my mother's side, and I could relate to the food, to the chaos, to
the comedy in tragedy, which this author captures so well. This is a memoir to