I was a young editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster when the manuscript for a book called The Queen of Everything came to an acquisitions meeting. Though I wasn't working for the acquiring editor, it was easy to see why our whole department was buzzing at the prospect of adding this amazing new talent to our list.
That's just one reason why I'm so excited to welcome Deb Caletti to the blog today. Her latest novel, Stay, released in April, and she's here to regale us with a Too-Real tale of her own!
While I can’t claim to have run to a remote beach town to escape an obsessive boyfriend like Clara does in STAY, I can admit to something else that happens to Clara in the book: I have been subjected to the embarrassing, excessive enthusiasm of my parents.
The scene in the book, where Clara’s father asks Finn Bishop, the adorable sailor, where Clara can get a job as she stands nearby, cringing - well, it could have happened to me. When I was a teen, my sister and I would be regularly humiliated by the frequent, lengthy conversations my dad would have with salespeople, bystanders, and the guy just our age bringing the groceries to the car. If it was your birthday, watch out. Every possible singing waiter would be informed, especially if he was really cute. The singing waiter would, yes, sing to you (sometimes, oh please no, while you were wearing a sombrero), AND the singing waiter would be told how old you were, where you went to school, and whatever other get-acquainted facts my father thought would be helpful. He loved this. He thought this was terrific. My father would also stand on chairs to get a good picture of us, during school plays or graduations.
My mother, too, had her own mortifying gusto. She worked at our high school. She was friends with every stoner and scary mean girl. They loved her, probably because she looked out for the underdog and was protective to a fault. She once yelled at full volume down the street at my cheating high school boyfriend, after he went off with Carla Cummings. When my sister left for high school without her lunch one day, my mother drove to school and delivered it to her, right in front of the group of tough kids smoking cigarettes on the corner.
My father will STILL stand on a chair to get photos of me at book signings and talks (great photos, by the way). My mother will STILL be there with lunch, or defense, or a listening ear whenever I need it (a great listening ear, too.) I’ve come to realize that their sometimes embarrassing enthusiasm meant one huge thing: they were (and are) there for me. Really there. All the way, one hundred percent there. And even if this sometimes means one hundred and fifty percent there - I can only say to them, thanks, guys. Thank you so much. Your enthusiastic support has made all the difference in my life.
No sombreros this year, though, okay?
(Of course, now I'm suddenly DYING to see Deb in a sombrero!)
Thanks so much for sharing, Deb, and congrats on the new book!
So tell us, readers - what's the most embarrassing situation your parents have put you through?!