As you may imagine, I get a lot of submissions from authors and publishers hoping for a review. The vast majority of these submissions never see a post here for various reasons. Many times it’s because the stories just don’t grab us enough to keep going until the end and we’d much rather quit and move on to a book that we want to share with others.
I received a submission from author Ellis Avery a few days ago asking if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing her essay The Sapphire and the Tooth which is available now as a Kindle Single. I had previously reviewed her novel, The Last Nude, and enjoyed it very much so I was pretty certain I’d enjoy her new release.
I wrote her back this morning and said I’d do my best to get a review posted within the next few days and then opened the attached file to check the length of the essay. I read the first couple of lines and I was hooked. Less than an hour later, I’m writing this review.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
A jeweler with a law degree, for decades Elaine Solari Atwood fought crippling arthritis with hard liquor, until she died of a brain aneurysm at sixty-eight, leaving behind two daughters in their thirties and a lifetime’s worth of unfinished business. Forced as a child to play nanny to five siblings, she grew up to become a mother who loved her girls as tenderly as her stifled pain and anger allowed. In THE SAPPHIRE AND THE TOOTH, award-winning author Ellis Avery, by way of telling the story of selling her mother’s jewelry in New York’s Diamond District, offers a searing portrait of alcoholism and difficult love. The first in a series of essays on grief, illness, and food entitled “The Family Tooth”.
Avery’s voice is clear and honest. I was immediately engaged in every aspect of the essay: Her relationship with her mother – and her mother’s alcoholism, the way she experienced the grief of her mother’s death, and the family history. She gives us glimpses into her mother’s past as an explanation, not an excuse, for her mother’s behaviors. As a child of alcoholic parents, I was able to relate to so much of what Avery and her sister experienced. In particular, the way adult children of alcoholics often emotionally revert back to scared kids when faced with a drunken, enraged mom or dad.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this short work is the way the author blends the mundane with the emotional. There were scenes that nearly brought me to tears, one that gave me goosebumps, and one line that I highlighted and read no less than five times.
I definitely recommend The Sapphire and the Tooth and I’m looking forward to getting the rest of the series.
You can download a sample or purchase The Sapphire and the Tooth by clicking here.