Micro-review of micropreemie book: Juniper

At present I am reading Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon. You may remember this story from an amazing Radiolab episode on this preemie birth in Tampa Bay, or perhaps the Tampa Bay Times series itself that inspired said story, and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing.

The book opens with a searing one-page description of what the baby looked like shortly after birth, and it includes the phrase “shuddering fist of her heart,” which is one of those sharp bits of imagery writers use to convey a shock of something readers have never seen. I read that and thought, “Yeah, that’s exactly what it looks like.”

And then it leaves you there in that awful place to talk about… flirting? Yes, the book then has a chapter written by Kelley about how she wooed Tom years back in the newsroom and was frustrated by his slowness in getting around to actually marrying him. It’s a breezy, enjoyable tale of romance and new beginnings.

I would complain about this, but this is exactly what my developmental editor told me to do. And I was like, “Isn’t that jarring, jumping straight to backstory that is so much less intense than the present action?” And Susan said, “No, you have to introduce the main characters right away.”

So apparently Susan was right and that’s how this memoir genre goes.

That’s the end of the micro-review because that’s as far as I’ve gotten (last week’s snowstorm ate all my adult time as the schools closed for two days). Next is a chapter by Tom, which is an interesting alternating narrator thing that everybody told me not to try. So we’ll see how it works.

Here’s a website the authors are using to promote the book if you want more info.


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