Stowe Away and “I think we all…” by Blythe Rippon (plus a FREE book!)

Congratulations to Kathy Brodland. She won an ebook copy of Stowe Away by Blythe Rippon.

Look! My friend Blythe Rippon stopped by! Because she wrote a book. Well, another book. And she wants to tell you all about it. And give away an ebook copy. Woo!

Want to enter? Drop a comment in the space below. That’s it. Easy-peasy. I’ll draw a winner on Friday, January 29. Good luck!

Stowe Away and “I think we all…” by Blythe Rippon

StoweAway-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalMy latest novel, Stowe Away, is now available directly through my publisher, and for pre-order on Amazon (release date is Feb 3), and I’ve already started receiving emails from people about how much they like the story. That’s incredibly flattering, but what’s really interesting to me is how many of these emails use the phrase “I think we all….” with respect to the relationship between Sam, the story’s protagonist, and Natalie, her first love.

I’m sure we all remember our first love. The sound of her laughter, how she smelled. How there was some rift in the space-time continuum and for a while the world contained only her, with everyone else becoming tiny blurs around the edges of our consciousness. Maybe this relationship ended well, maybe it ended badly, maybe it’s still going strong. Regardless, “I think we all” carry a torch for our first love. People have written that it was eviscerating—in a good way—to read about Sam’s relationship with Natalie, and that it was therapeutic. I suspect your interpretation depends a lot on how your first love turned out for you.

The other common theme in the feedback I’ve received is readers recognizing in Sam’s experience as a caretaker their own sacrifices for the people they love. At the risk of giving a spoiler, I’ll say that at the midpoint of the novel, Sam’s world is turned upside down when she returns to the small town she longed to escape (Stowe, Vermont) to take care of her mom. Like stories of the way first loves never really leave us, stories about taking care of ailing family members are remarkably common. It never ceases to amaze me, the things I’ve seen people give up—not always because they want to, but because it’s the right thing to do. I’ve seen people give up careers, walk away from new relationships, abandon the perfect rent-controlled apartment—all because their family needed them. I’ve seen communities unite to throw fundraisers, and I’ve watched the quiet and solitary sacrifices made by one or two people to care for someone.

Stowe Away is about these experiences that so many of us share—first loves, sacrificing for family. Maybe, happily ever after. And because “I think we all” turn to books to find a piece of ourselves, I hope that, if you read it, Stowe Away speaks to you on at least one of these levels.

Thanks to the lovely ladies of Women and Words for letting me share some of my thoughts on Stowe Away.

Cheers,

Blythe

 


Blythe Rippon is the author of Barring Complications (winner of Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Debut) and the short story “S. Claus” in the holiday anthology Do You Feel What I Feel. She holds a PhD in the humanities and teaches academic writing to undergraduates. When not grading papers or imagining plots for future novels, she is usually holding forth about the political injustice of the day, hiking, or experimenting in the kitchen. She has lived all over the United States and at present can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her wife and children.

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30 thoughts on “Stowe Away and “I think we all…” by Blythe Rippon (plus a FREE book!)

  1. Sounds like a lovely story. I have been a caregiver in the past so I can relate to some of the experiences Blythe writes about. Would love to have a copy of her book.

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  2. Hi, as the caregiver to both my parents I look forward to reading stoweaway, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much as your other book thanks for tackling this topic
    Wilma

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  3. I look forward to reading your newest book. Many of us, in various stages of life, have stepped into the caretaking role and it isn’t something you normally read about in a novel.

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  4. […] A whole romantic conversation takes place while two characters are swimming in Barring Complications by Blythe Rippon. Swimming! How do you have a conversation and swim at the same time, but for me the swimming conversations between Justice Victoria Willoughby and Genevieve Fornier are incredibly romantic without even using words. (you can check out a recent blog on Women and Words by Blythe here) […]

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  5. Blythe,

    I’m of course a bit biased, but Stowe Away was a pleasure to work on and for me, the parts of the story that really resonated was Sam’s nerdliness and how she struggled to get out of her small town but even more so, the whole caretaker aspect of having a chronically ill mom. My mom had some pretty chronic illnesses that interfered with her life pretty hard by the time she reached her forties, so my teenaged years were spent waking up in the middle of the night to find my mom delirious from insulin shock and and then watching her have to sleep in half the next day or helping her write things down after a mild stroke took away her beautiful penmanship for over a year. In my twenties, I came home to help her recover from a kidney transplant. She died when I was still in my early thirties after seven months of stays in hospital and in rehab trying to recover from a heart attack. I could so identify with Sam’s dilemmas and frustrations of centering your outlook around a sick parent when you’re still feeling like a child yourself and feeling unready to take on the responsibility. But like Sam, I grew from those experiences too, and I appreciated my mom all the more for seeing her fragile hold on health.

    The parts that really gutted me the most about Stowe Away were the conversations Sam and her mom had late in the novel. I remember wishing that my mom and I could have had those kind of cathartic, nurturing conversations, but they were so often not even physically possible because of her condition. Stowe Away is a novel that will stay with me for a long time. Congratulations on nudging a lovely project out of the nest. 🙂

    Michelle

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    1. Wow, Michelle–I just saw this. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I’m so glad you did–and I’m so glad that this aspect of the novel resonated with you. Growing up in that kind of household is infinitely challenging–and (we discover much later in life), rewarding too. Thanks again for sharing!

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