We are so pleased to welcome yet another writer to the team! A sassy Irish blogger named Lisa (a girl after my own heart).
You may know her already from Rambling Lisa’s Book Reviews and if you don’t then you really need to check out her blog. Today she will be reviewing Shepherd & the Professor by Dan Klefstad.
Shepherd & the Professor (Release Date: April 7, 2016)
Most people take comfort knowing their family and friends will remember them after they die. For Susan Shepherd, “remembering” is bullshit. She wants an eternal shrine to her sacrifice: a book that never goes out of print.
Shepherd served her country in the Gulf War, got shot while serving her community as a cop, raised an ungrateful daughter by herself — and for what? A diagnosis of terminal cancer and she isn’t even fifty. If you were in her shoes, you might agree that nothing short of national perpetual acknowledgement will do.
She’s glad you feel that way; she just wrote a memoir and sent a flurry of query letters, hoping a publisher will memorialize her with a best-seller. After hitting Send, she waits not-at-all patiently for an editor to decide if her story will sell enough copies — that is, if her life really mattered.
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When I started this book I was ready to give up! Being completely honest I found it exceptionally difficult to get into. After about 30% I ended up getting into the story and it drew me in.
Shepherd and the Professor is about Susan Shepherd who is a police officer suffering from cancer. She is trying to get her memoir published and have it never go out of print.
It is a really well written story done in an epistolary style. I loved how the stories are all separate but as they take place in the same town they are actually all related and, in turn, Susan has had these people help to write their perspective in her memoir.
This is a very raw, gritty story and if you are not someone who is into reading something that shows everything in its truly naked form then this won’t be for you. However, it is a book I would recommend. I had to keep reminding myself it was a work of fiction due to how raw it was. I love the dynamic between the characters. There is no ‘romanticizing’ the characters and their relationships at all. There were times I found myself rereading paragraphs because I had to really think about what was written. One example is ‘If you’re married, and I truly hope it’s a happy union, you’ll know most marriages have an arc that begins with love, rises to disappointment and descends to a point of mutual acceptance.’ This statement had me laughing because it is so true. Klefstad has really grasped writing, how people speak/think and it is amazingly refreshing.
We have the twisted, manipulative character, the bratty daughter who defies her mother at any turn as she is ‘in love’, the single mother who has been through the mill, the ex who left her and is now living in a loveless marriage, the drug dealing boyfriend of the defiant brat, the recovering alcoholic reporter and the ever so infuriating student. There are more characters in this memoir but these are the main players.
I give this book 4* and recommend you pick it up!
Rating… 4 Stars
About the Author
Dan Klefstad interviews other authors for NPR/WNIJ’s “Read with Me” series (archive: http://northernpublicradio.org/topic/wnij-read-me ). His most recent publication is “The Caretaker,” a short story in the journal Crack the Spine (#209). He lives and writes in DeKalb, Illinois, and Williams Bay, Wisconsin.