Wow. That’s about all I can say about the glorious, wonderful, amazing, ridiculously fun, delightful launch party on Sunday. Just…wow.
It starts with the fact that I live in a great place with not one but two great independent bookstores. The event was at Jabberwocky Bookshop, a particularly special place with truly wonderful staff, an eclectic and interesting collection of books, and a huge children’s section. Also, it’s next door to a bakery that specializes in whoopie pies. Nope, I’m not making that up. If you don’t know what a whoopie pie is, then first of all, I’m sorry, and second of all, head over to Chococoa’s website and see what you’ve been missing. (And yes, they ship).
I was beyond touched and delighted at how many friends, old and new, showed up to celebrate with me. It’s a busy time of year (are there any times of year that aren’t, really??), traffic was epic, and yet childhood friends, author friends, and countless others all made the schlepp to be there.
For those who got stuck in traffic or couldn’t come, I’m sharing my remarks and some photos here. And I will keep posting new signings and appearances on the website as they come up. But today, on launch day, I am mostly just so grateful and delighted to give the family Fletcher its push into the world with such a great crowd.
Here’s the text of the speech I gave — and I am using that term loosely — in case you missed it and want to know what it was all about.
The common wisdom shared with all aspiring writers, is “write what you know.” Well, that and “consider getting an IV drip of coffee.”
So I went ahead got the IV drip, and…wrote about a family with two gay men as parents and four adopted boys.
It seems like I didn’t follow the rule, because what do I know about gay dads or adoption. Heck, I don’t even know about brothers.
In fact I have one sister. I know nothing of the wild rumpus that four brothers would involve. But that one sister of mine — she and I are really close. We have inside jokes and fights and we can still make each other laugh with a single word. (like Shark bird). And recently her family was reading The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher aloud. And they stopped partway through, saying: “this book is like reading Dana’s life. I swear I’ve heard half of these stories!”
And they are right. Because while I might not have four boys, I have two kids of my own now, (who are also here — Hi Noah and Izzy!), and wow, the stories come fast and thick. I don’t have to be too creative to come up with some of the craziest stuff in the book.
So in this book, there are ridiculous stories from the Kirbys, the Levys, the Ringels, and many of my longtime friends as well. In fact, some of the best stories had to be cut, because my editor felt that “that couldn’t really have happened.” (Usually because it was too dangerous. But yep. They happened. Welcome to the 70s.)
So yes, I wrote what I know. I wrote the kind of family I have, even if we look a little bit different on the outside. For instance, I thought my sister was incredibly cool, the way Jax thinks of Sam. I had a robust imaginary life, not unlike Frog. I was miserable in school for a while, kind of like Eli.
Now, I realize that every family has its own challenges and triumphs. And a family with two dads and four adopted biracial kids definitely has experiences that I do not know.
But rather that worry about that, I decided to write about what I do know: a family where the love is obvious, cat barf far too common, the details how the family arrived on this planet together matters much less than whose turn it is to clean the litter box.
That’s my family, and probably a lot of yours too.
Thank you again for being here. I really hope you like the book. As many of you already know, Random House recently bought a sequel, so I am spending this summer once again deep in the mischief, mayhem and general shenanigans of the family Fletcher, and I couldn’t be happier.
Here are a few more photos of the signing. Thanks to all who snapped away! I was far to discombobulated to even think about a camera!
So that was my book launch: dear friends from as far away as Ireland and as close by as next door; beloved family from Canada, Maine, Boston, and beyond, and a wild rumpus of kids making it all fun.
Here’s to summer. Here’s to books. And here’s to family and friends that make it all wonderful!