Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Letters From the Ledge" by Lynda Meyers

Hello darling readers!

A very special treat for you today! I was given the opportunity to review a book that really surprised me. I won't put up much of an introduction because I'm very excited to present this book to you.

So here we are!
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Letters From The Ledge
by Lynda Meyers
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Still reeling from the suicide of his best friend Tess, seventeen-year old Brendan struggles to overcome addiction and identity issues. Walking the ledge outside his Manhattan apartment has become its own sort of drug, as he stands night after night with his arms outstretched, ready to fly away. Sarah can see him from her window, and begins journaling about a boy on a ledge. Paige and Nate, a young couple in another building, can see both teens from their fire escape. None of them know the others are watching, but a strong desire for freedom resides in each of them, and as their lives begin to intertwine, that desire will be tested. Anyone can jump, but not everyone can fly... Sharp, humorous, and deeply layered, this chronicle of a suicidal teen’s survival explores the reality of addiction and other tough issues, but does so easily, through the use of multiple perspectives, intelligent dialogue and authentic characters. Equal parts romance, contemporary drama, and coming of age, this highly engaging and intensely beautiful novel challenges our cultural perceptions in the battle for balance. From The Back Cover: "When I was a kid I used to dream about being a pilot. I had a bunch of model airplanes and I would fly them off our balcony, then ride the elevator down and try to find them. Of course they were never there, so I figured once they left the balcony they must have become real airplanes–Pinocchio style. I know better now, but there’s a part of me that still wants to believe in miracles. When you make the leap, can you really become what everyone else says you can’t?" - Brendan High above Manhattan, Brendan walks the ledge. Night after night he stands with his arms outstretched, ready to fly away. 
Sarah can see him from her window. Paige can see them both from her fire escape. None of them know they’re being watched each night by the others. But everyone has a story to tell.
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Auggie-Talk Quill Rating
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5/5
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 Lynda Meyers absolutely blew me out of the water with "Letter's from the Ledge".

As usual I'm going to be very straight forward and say that I wasn't expecting to like the book much, not at all because I didn't expect it to be well written but it just wasn't in my genre sphere. I was fully prepared to encounter a book that was good but not appealing to my reading interests. I even told Mr. J that very thing.

I guarantee you he would be more than ready to tell you how much I talked about the book after I started reading it. It took me less than two days.  I was sucked in, held captive, and just plain flabbergasted at how compelling the story was. My eagerness to read kept me up late into the night.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any of you who are reading this review. My skepticism proved me foolish and showed me that I should never, ever, judge a book by it's genre!

When I expected dry and depressing I got colorful and uplifting.

When I expected an overabundance of angst I received a tidal wave of hope against all odds and  strength to overcome. 

The book is smart, interesting, compelling, and gritty. The story sucks you in. The likable characters have you searching your own soul for strength to face your darkest places, your own problems, your own prisons. It is impossible to not feel intimately connected to Brendan, Sarah, Paige, and Nate in  their struggles with the blackness life might be inclined to offer up. Their hurt become the readers indignation, their triumphs the reader's joy. It's a darn good book that can get a handle on your feelings that way.

I must add that there's some great humor and a very amusing Monty Python reference that had me giggling for a while. I couldn't even resist reading it out loud!

Perhaps in life it seems that sometimes walking the ledge is necessary, but darkness is conquerable. That's the feeling I took away from this book.

Truthfully I believe that "Letter's From the Ledge" gives the reader a small, shining hope that they too can find their wings, their great freedom, and learn to embrace life with abandon.


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About the Author and "Letters"
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How did you come up with the idea for Letters From the Ledge?

Letters From The Ledge is a story I watched unfold in a vision one day, each character coming into view like the opening scene from a movie. Suddenly there was this silhouette of a young man against the night sky, standing with his arms outstretched, contemplating suicide. I kept watching as the scene panned out and a light came on in a window across the way. Another silhouette, but this one female, watching and journaling. The camera panned out and back once more, until I was sitting on a fire escape, watching the two of them, but I wasn’t alone. Paige and Nate were there with me.

That’s when Brendan started talking, and I started writing down everything he said. Three weeks later I’d written 45,000 words. The rest of the rough draft was completed in the months that followed.
This book is the realization of the vision from which it began and the dream that it has become. The entire vision for it is huge – has always been huge. From the first day I met Brendan, I saw multiple projects extending out from this book, from music to poetry to photo diaries…this young man has a lot to say about the world, and I’m not sure it can be encapsulated in one book!

In many ways, Brendan is the archetype for today’s young adults. Often they’re tattooed, pierced, labeled and misunderstood. They have this way of looking at the world that’s unique and sometimes fearless. That scares people. But if we would just take the time to climb up next to them and see what they see, maybe we could all learn a little more about what it means to really fly free.


What was the influence for this novel? A personal experience?

This book has been drawn from so many aspects of my life it’s hard to answer that question succinctly. Many of the issues in the book hit close to home, some because of personal experience and some because of people I know who have walked through them. I’ve also been a nurse for 20+ years, a lot of those spent in the Intensive Care Units working with patients and families in crisis. My husband and I have volunteered at schools and done a lot of personal mentoring. I’ve also lived abroad and traveled fairly extensively. In some ways I feel like my entire life has been research for this book!

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Prior to your novel being published, what did you do for work? Are you focusing solely on writing at this point in your life or working outside the home as well?

I have a good friend who often tells me “A writing Lynda is a happy Lynda” and that’s pretty accurate! When I’m not writing or painting or in some way being creative I start to get cranky! I think it’s built in – kind of like those cool little arched alcoves in an old city house J At the moment I’m working part time and writing every chance I get!

Can you give a brief synopsis of the story and its plot?

Still reeling from the suicide of his best friend Tess, seventeen-year old Brendan struggles to overcome addiction and identity issues. Walking the ledge outside his Manhattan apartment has become its own sort of drug, as he stands night after night with his arms outstretched, ready to fly away. 

Sarah can see him from her window, and begins journaling about a boy on a ledge. Paige and Nate, a young couple in another building, can see both teens from their fire escape. 

None of them know the others are watching, but a strong desire for freedom resides in each of them, and as their lives begin to intertwine, that desire will be tested. Anyone can jump, but not everyone can fly...

Sharp, humorous, and deeply layered, this chronicle of a suicidal teen’s survival explores the reality of addiction and other tough issues, but does so easily, through the use of multiple perspectives, intelligent dialogue and authentic characters. Equal parts romance, contemporary drama, and coming of age, this highly engaging and intensely beautiful novel challenges our cultural perceptions in the battle for balance.

Who are your biggest literary influences in general? Why?

I'm actually a really picky reader, and I think that had a lot to do with my becoming a writer. The writing has to be pretty incredible to hold my attention. Writers I respect are people like Annie Dillard, Paulo Coelho, Francine Rivers, and C.S. Lewis. I don’t like fluff, and I respect readers too much to waste their time. I basically write what I want to read: Books that allow me to be challenged and impacted without being force-fed someone else’s agenda. My goal is to write books that cause people to think, but leave them free to question.

Where is your book available for sale?

It is available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks / iPad ($3.99) and in paperback ($10.88) from Amazon.com, and all the major retailers. Signed copies are available at the book's website: http://www.lettersfromtheledge.com 

(Note from Auggie: All of these links for buying will be available to you at the bottom of this post.)


When was it published?

Digital editions were released in December 2011. The paperback edition released in January 2012.

How long did it take you to write Letters From the Ledge?

The rough draft took about six months altogether. Editing and shaping and forming it into what it is today took about three years.

Are you working on another book or have ideas for additional books?

My current project is called "truly." it's a first person account of a writer and a chance meeting and a relationship that turns her whole world upside down. I've been posting it for free in weekly segments on my blog: http://www.writeonedge.blogspot.com. It's really been an interesting process because I've been posting it rough, as it's written, with very little editing. It’s just pure story, and people absolutely love it! Readers from all over the world are tuning in for the installments and sending me messages and I’m having a blast!

Truly is definitely next in line as far as publishing goes, but a lot of people are asking for a sequel to LFTL. I could see that happening, but I could also see pursuing other projects that have been on my heart. I guess we'll have to wait that one out!

If you are working on another text, when might we see that project on shelves?

The current goal is to have truly. released by Christmas 2012. 


What, in your opinion, makes this book a good read (aside from the fact you wrote it)?

The evolution of this book has been a pretty incredible journey. I think the most interesting thing about it is that so many people from so many different walks of life have found a connection with these characters. It’s very layered. Brendan is this messed up dreamer and yet he’s smart and so very funny and you can’t help but love the people who love him and hate the people who hate him. Paige and Nate have this whole other, complete story within the book, and yet both stories are connected. It follows you around, like the eyes in a good painting. You can stand in different parts of the room and still find it staring at you.

I intended the book for the 15-30 age group, because I had a lot of trial readers along the way who really seemed to resonate with its themes. Now it’s being read by kids in middle school and 73-year-old grandmothers and everyone in between, so I really don’t know what to call it! I know bookstores like to have a target market so they know where to put the book on their shelves, but to me this book crosses through several genres. I would say it’s for all who hope, all who fear, and all who dream.



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Discover The Author
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BUY LINKS



I thank Lynda Meyers from the bottom of my heart for offering her book to me to read and review. It touched a personal chord inside of me that needed to be strummed. I believe that it can do the very same for you. So, READ READ READ! 


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News
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Check in tomorrow for Auggie Talk's FEATURED FRIDAY. This month's featured author is Haruki Murakami.


Tomorrow will also feature the second Giveaway for the month. 

The current Giveaway (on until April 15th) can be found  here.

Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A.


1 comment:

  1. Hello! My first visit, will visit you again. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Congrats for your work. If you wish to follow back that would be great I'm at http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com
    Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Easter my dear friend!

    ReplyDelete

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