Archive for November, 2013

Helen Peppe and Stephen King: What Waits in the Dark

by Elizabeth SearlePeppe_9780306822728

“Stop reading so much Stephen King,” Helen Peppe‘s mother advised her.  Luckily, young Helen didn’t listen to her mother, or she might not have gone on– inspired by King and others– to create her own gripping Maine-Gothic masterpiece in PIGS CAN’T SWIM.

Alternately hilarious and harrowing,  Peppe’s debut memoir is forthcoming in February, 2014, from Da Capo Press and has been selected as an Indies Introduce Debut title.  The book marks the arrival of a fearless and funny new author with King-sized storytelling chops.

In her boldly over-the-top account of life on the poverty line in rural Maine, Helen Peppe describes how she discovered Stephen King in battered paperbacks from her local libraries.  She instantly felt a kinship with Maine’s darkly brilliant Bard.

He helped her see, she writes, what ‘waits in the dark.’

Stephen King becomes almost a character himself in Peppe’s tale of growing up poor– with “cavity-rich teeth”– in a family of nine children.  Many of the deftly drawn characters in this saga go without names (ie, “My pretty hair-twirling sister”).  But the name of Stephen King pops up again and again.  Peppe perfectly captures the power of books to transport her from her hardscrabble life.

_HpJP0279-Edit“Stephen King’s newest book, Christine, was in my lap, face down and open flat so as to hold my place.  From this angle it looked like a seagull, the type I drew in one swoop of a line…’Isn’t it cool how books look like birds and they fly us away from the place we’re in?'”

Young Helen gropes her way from being a ‘Liar Liar Pants on Fire’ toward finding her calling.  Peppe perfectly captures the teenage moment of transformation.  “‘I want to be a writer,’ my mouth surprised me by saying.”

Whether she’s scheming to steal the last ‘fist-full of pink pie’ or galloping on her beloved horse or falling in pre-teen love with Shawn Cassidy or battling real and imagined demons or pedaling for miles to rendezvous with her High School boyfriend and ‘rocket man,’ Peppe puts the reader inside her skin for her whole wild ride.

Like the master of suspense whose books inspire her, Helen Peppe finds the horror and danger, as well as the skewed beauty, of everyday life.  Evoking rural Maine and its people with a depth and dark comedy worthy of King himself, Peppe shows how she comes “unstuck” from her past and learns, like the animals she loves, to “act free and real.

(Photos courtesy of Helen Peppe– pictured above)

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  • As the NYT among other media outlets compare Obama’s Healthcare woes to Bush and Katrina or even Bush and Iraq, Litotes poses a key question…
    • Obama/Healthcare vs. Bush/Katrina 
    • by LitotesoUnknown
    • The Times is suffering a serious “Fox infestation” problem:
    • Obama’s Flawed Health Law Rollout Draws Parallels to Bush’s Troubles
    • Right, like killing a million human beings is SOOO SIMILAR to trying to prolong the lives of thirty million.
    • Quick: fire this writer now before he turns into Bill Keller!  Quote News Analysis end-quote my ass!
    • No NYT link, why encourage them?

(photos: Googleimages; unconfirmedmediasources.com)

PS: a “Time-ly’ update from Litotes as the Times headlines continue to morph:

“Insta-edit from the crypto-conservative reporter:
Health Law Rollout’s Stumbles Draw Parallels to Bush’s Hurricane Response

Uh, hamana, hamana, hamana, well IT’S LIKE KATRINA! Not Iraq, heaven forfend!

Great, So, Bush/Cheney killed one million and some change and Obama … yes … yes … I’m waiting …

Tried to help people?! What a loser!”


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