Title: Sold on a Monday
Author: Kristina McMorris
Pages: 332 (this is the end of the actual book in the paper copy. Then there are some interesting notes from the author and a book club Q&A).
Genre: Historical fiction
Is this part of a series? No.
Publish date: Now here’s the rub: everyone is saying that the book comes out on August 28th- Publisher, Amazon, Netgalley….. and yet I bought my copy at Walmart last Tuesday. ($12.99)
“It all started with a picture.”
Ellis only stopped for a second- on the way to cover another boring society dig. The boys, sitting by this sign, though…. it caught him. It wasn’t the first time he’d used the paper’s camera like this…. but it would be the most meaningful.
When the pic gets brought to the chief’s attention Ellis is offered his chance- just one shot- to write worthwhile stories. Starting with one about this family. He has good intentions- keep the family mostly out of the spotlight- write about it like this could be just about the turmoil of so many American Families. But you can’t shine a spotlight like that and expect the family to stay hidden.
The worst part? There’s a secret, only known to Ellis and the mother and kids, that no one can know. Not only is his career skyrocketing due to someone’s pain…. the secret is breaking him apart.
Lilly, secretary at the paper, only meant to help. First to help Ellis with his story, then help with the fallout. Sometimes you can do things with the best of intentions… and still cause pain. When the family risks being torn apart can a reporter and his friend really be enough to turn the tide?
This book brought to stark image the pain and desperation of 1930’s America.
This book broke me for so many reasons. I think the author stated it best in her notes.
‘In the direst of times, I could fathom perhaps having to make such a heartbreaking choice for the sake of my children. But why on earth ask for money in return?’
Her friend answered “because they wanted to eat”. It’s easy to judge a family that could do this without thinking of why, what they are going through. It’s also far too easy to ignore the suffering of others unless it’s placed in a spotlight… like, say some cute kids with a for sale sign in the paper. It’s easy to say that they could have done something else… any thing else… but could they? When I read the reasoning it actually made perfect, heartbreaking sense.
The characters are well developed and wonderfully flawed. Each has their strength, their goodness, their hidden guilt and their faults. It’s these well developed characters that really brought the book to life for me. I fell madly in love with these well meaning but flawed individuals.
Part of the heartbreaking aspect for me was that this was inspired by an actual picture that first showed up in the Vidette-Messenger of Valparaiso, Indiana in 1948.
The story was well written and thought provoking. I loved the way it moved from Lilly to Ellis and back allowing for a duel narrative that gave a better understanding of what each character felt. Even as Ellis tried to enjoy his success, and did things he never thought he would in order to achieve it, there was still that small bit of the good guy wanting to shake the world. For me, this is a five star book.
On the adult content scale, this is has violence, language and drinking. It isn’t much and if that was the only concern then I would say it was about a three. Due to the treatment of the children, though, I feel I have to add a bit more. This is some heavy hitting material. I have to give it a five. I would say that this is definitely geared toward adults.
I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Landmark in exchange for an honest review. I also ended up buying it, so that I could add a few quotes to the bottom of the review (and because I loved it).
The book is still marked to come out August 28th, 2018 (I am a bit confused). Have you read it? Is it on your TBR?
Link to book:
And now… a few quotes.
‘Seeking inspiration, he again studied the photo. There were a variety of slants to consider. His fingers hovered over the keys, waiting for words to come. Something provocative. Something newsworthy. Maybe even…. Creative.’
‘It was darkly intriguing in a way. The sight of strangers in dire straits had become so commonplace that they were as good as invisible to most. But shine a spotlight on members of a single family- a pair of cute kids huddled together, a desperate mother shielding her face- and they become human. Folks who deserve compassion.’
‘There was so much more she could say, about what she had learned of that photo. About the damning secret he harbored. About how pictures, like people, so often were not as they appeared. ‘
Seriously, though… go get the book, it is phenomenal!