Part of my growth as an unpaid writer has been inspired in a large part by authors that I adore, specifically Melissa Banks and Curtis Sittenfeld. Two very different and 50 kinds of awesome writers who tell unconventional stories with grace and power. I get steam coming out of my ears when people praise scholockyness of so-called greats like Jennifer Wiener and Jodi Piccoult. Ugh! Talk about trite, unrealistic nonsense! Fie on chick lit and it's one dimensional bullshit!
I remember when "The Girl's Guide to Hunting & Fishing" was published in 1998, the year I graduated from college. I gave it to my sister-in-law for her birthday that year. When I inquired if she enjoyed it, she said "It was really different." 10 years later, I finally picked up the damn thing and was totally blown away. The protagonist, Jane, is a stellar example of woman trying and failing and triumphing over the modern day foibles in NYC. Banks followed the monster hit of "Girl's" w/ "The Wonder Spot". Both books begin the same way, pubescent girl getting a peek at the complexities of life and love and follows the trajectory of their lives. My only complaint is that of Sophie, the main character, of "The Wonder Spot". She isn't very sympathetic but I've grown to understand her. And that's a mark of awesome book, thinking of the characters as real people.
Conversely, when my birthday rolled around this past October 21st (hint hint), I was not super psyched to read the novel that my sister-in-law gave to me. "The Man of my Dreams" sounded like a gigantic piece of shit. Boy, was I wrong! The story was compelling and sad and amazing. I hunted out Sittenfeld's other works, "Prep" and "American Wife". "Prep" and "Man" are similar in that the protagonist is a minor character in the story of her life. "American Wife" is a fictionalized account of the life of Laura Bush. Wow! Why didn't I think of something like that?
I urge each and everyone of you, go to Barnes & (Ig)Noble, your libraries, www.half.com, what have and get yr hands on the works of these extraordinary authors.