That’s right. I don’t typically wax on about one book in particular, but this is my blog, I started it for me, and if I want to, I can hijack it for my purposes.
I went to another reading by Jeffrey Stepakoff Tuesday night, which is my excuse to do a couple of things:
- Tell you when he’s coming to your city so that you can go meet him.(See schedule below.)
- Remind you that there are still 12 days to enter the giveaway of a signed copy of Fireworks over Toccoa. (And, because he’s just so nice and has seen how many of you have signed up for the giveaway, he’s offered to provide additional books.)
- Talk a little more about the book for those who have read it so that I can participate in 5 minutes for books discussion. Ignore this last part if you haven’t read it.
- Also, I saw where A Good Blog is Hard to Find posted an interview with him. Check it out here.
Greenville, Books-A-Million, April 22nd, 7:00 pm
Charlotte, Joseph-Beth, April 24th, 2:00 pm
Raleigh, Barnes & Noble, April 28th, 7:00 pm
Wilmington, Pomegranate Books-April 30th, 7:00 pm
Charleston, Blue Bicycle Books, May 4th, 3:00 pm
Birmingham, Books-A-Million, May 7th, 7:00 pm
Nashville, Davis-Kidd, May 10th, 7:00 pm
Knoxville, Books-A-Million, May 13th, 7:00 pm
Asheville, Malaprops, May 14th, 5:00 pm
******** SPOILER ALERT********
My answers to some of the questions posed on 5 Minutes for Books:
What was your response to Lily’s decision to offer a thirsty African-American soldier a rare ice cold Coca-Cola in the middle of busy downtown 1945 Toccoa, Georgia? Do you think she should have been more direct in her action to help him, or stayed out of it entirely?
This was one of my favorite scenes in the book. I thought it was totally realistic and gave Lily some depth that she needed. Had she been more direct, it wouldn’t have been believable. The sergeant (wasn’t he?) knew what she had done when he picked up her bags, and the knowing look that they shared was all that was needed. I think this will make a beautiful scene in the movie if it does indeed make it to the big screen.
Honey speaks the name of her son, Jonathan, only once in the story after he is killed in the war. Do you think the way she deals with his death is understandable? Do you think it’s healthy? What effect do you think it has on Lily?
I think that how she deals with his death is completely understandable and believable. Honey was about nice appearances, and grieving a son lost at war isn’t what women like Honey did publicly. I like the bit of contrast between Jonathan and Paul – and Walter’s attitude toward what their responsibilities in the war would be. I felt that this aspect could have been developed further. I would have liked to have known more about Jonathan and how his death impacted Lily, in light of husband’s return that she’s dreading.
Lily’s father Walter is very clear with her about what he expects her to do when he speaks to her the morning after she has been out all night with Jake. What was your response to how Walter handled this situation? In his place, in what ways would you have reacted similarly or differently?
I didn’t quite believe this scene – quite frankly, I thought he went pretty light. I see a father – no matter what his role was in her getting married – being a lot tougher on her. In this day and for this class of family, staying out all night with a guy all night is unacceptable, and I just don’t see a father letting it go so easily.
Though not a typical Young Adult coming-of-age novel, how is Fireworks over Toccoa the story of Lily’s coming of age?
I think this is a story about Lily coming into herself. Within the story Lily spans the gap between doing what is expected of you to doing what is right for you. Part of growing up is realizing that sometimes the right thing to do is also what is expected – not just what you want for yourself. We all live with the consequences of our decisions – even those we make when we’re young and foolish (sometimes, most of all those). Our youth is not an excuse for shirking responsibility. This is the tragic irony of Paul’s death – Lily’s decision to marry him meant that when he died a hero, she had to play the role of the hero’s widow.
What personal connection, if any, did you have with this novel?: the place (Toccoa, Georgia), the World War II setting, influential families in small towns, military deployment, the loss of a child or sibling, temptation in marriage?
I’m from Toccoa, so this was a wonderful treat for me. Stepakoff used real landmarks and family names, though some a bit out of character, but nonetheless fun to read.
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