Monday, September 21, 2015

Review of Local Author - Novel

In my last post, I mentioned that I had recently read books from 2 local authors - a memoir and a novel.  The 1st one was the memoir.  This one is the novel.  It's called San Francisco, and it's the debut offering from Marian Lindner.  I enjoyed this one too.  It's a pretty simple storyline.  Anna O'Malley is a 19-year old socialite who is constantly being pushed toward suitors by her mother, and who is discouraged from thinking for herself.  She has a secret, though.  She and a girlfriend like to perform burlesque at a late-night club in the heart of the city. This brings her in contact with a bunch of different elements of society that she definitely does NOT come across in her social circles.

What makes this story so unusual, you ask?  Let's see.  Oh, yeah.  She's on the roof of a building in downtown SF following a performance when the 1906 earthquake hits.  I don't think it's a spoiler alert to tell you that she survives the initial devastation.  What follows is Anna's story in the aftermath of the shaker.

Marian has done some very good things in this book:

1.  She introduces quite a few characters in such a way that you are not confused when they come up later in the book.  I don't think that's a small observation.  How many times have you read a book when a character appears, and you say:  "Who's this person again?" That does not happen in San Francisco.
2.  Marian makes us feel what it must have been like to live through this natural disaster. And we get to feel it from a lot of different economic perspectives.  We see it through the eyes of the elite, as well as the servants of the elite.  We even see the devastating effects the earthquake has on the poor.
3.  We read about all of the emergency medical services that sprout up immediately following the earthquake.  We get a good sense for the heroism of the medical community.
4.  We even get romance, but I won't tell you who's involved (duh!).
5.  I'm a very good visualizer when I read a book.  But these visuals were more vivid somehow.  I appreciate that.
6.  I connected with the characters and had a couple of "teared up" moments.
7.  Although this comment doesn't go to the story itself, it's important to me - the book is very well edited.

If you want to learn about the effects of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake on the city's population, and how the citizens responded to it (with some romance and intrigue thrown in), this is a good way to do it.

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