“A beautifully written, finely wrought, race-to-the-end novel about finding your family,
finding a life and finding yourself. Tish Cohen is the next great thing in women’s fiction.”
__Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of
The One That I Want and Time of My Life
The multi-talented, insightful Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl, Little Black Lies YA) offers readers a coming-of-age, coming-to terms book tomorrow — June 8, 2010 –, with her third adult novel, The Truth About Delilah Blue. It’s true that the title character is only twenty, yet how many individuals, of any age, suddenly learn and must attempt to maturely cope with the fact that they were once a child on a milk carton deemed MISSING?
Although that alone would be an amazing “what if” for a storyline, it was not the basic idea for The Truth. Rather the inspiration came from the author’s father’s back surgery as explained in the December 1, 2009 blog post, The Truth About Delilah Blue:
“I’m very excited about my next book for adults, I wrote it over a period of about two years and it was inspired, but has nothing to do with, by my father’s back surgery. My single father lives out in California, my youngest brother lives in Vancouver and my sister, other brother and I live in the northeast. So when Dad announced he needed someone to care for him for two weeks post-op, it was no simple feat to decide who could up and go. Turned out Michael, the youngest, was able to transport his work down south and be there for our dad. We were never going to leave Dad to himself, if it hadn’t been Michael, my sister or I would have pulled our kids out of school and hopped on a plane.
Our dad is lucky, he has four kids who care, but the experience got me thinking: what happens when the aging parent had wronged his children or child in the past? How would that child react when the parent is vulnerable and a reversal of roles becomes real? So here was the seed for a story. All I needed to do was think up a paternal act that could not only be proven later in my heroine’s life, but would be irrevocable, unspeakable, and unforgivable.
This one terrible act, a dozen years in the past, became the basis for THE TRUTH ABOUT DELILAH BLUE.” Please read more.
Tish’s post then evolved into the following synopsis:
What if you woke up one day to learn that you were a child on a milk carton?
Lila Mack, formerly known as Delilah Blue Lovett, has always felt like an outsider ever since she moved from the gingerbread community of Cabbagetown, Toronto to Los Angeles with her father when she was eight-years-old. Now twenty and still struggling to find her way in life, she longs to become an artist like her long-lost mother, but unable to pay for classes she does something quite daring. She takes a job as an art model, posing nude for a classroom full of students so she can learn from the professor—a decision that lifts the veil of her once insular world.
Anxiety over exposing her body is the least of Lila’s worries when her father starts to become disoriented and forgetful, signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the same time, her mother re-enters the scene, bringing secrets about the past that will change their lives. Suddenly, nearly everything Lila knows about herself is a lie, and she has no idea who to trust—her free-spirited mother whom she always believed abandoned the family, or her adoring father, who has begun his descent into senility and is either unable or unwilling to give her answers. Lila realizes neither parent is what he/she seems and the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all—herself.
The Truth About Delilah Blue showcases Cohen’s talent for finding the humor and heart in the most dysfunctional of families as she tackles the subject of parental abduction and the themes of abandonment, trust, healing and forgiveness.
Anyone who has read Town House, Inside Out Girl, or even Little Black Lies knows Tish’s affinity for creating quirky, problematic-to-society, main characters and shaping them into unique, believable individuals, deserving of respect and understanding. However, in this novel, the author allows Delilah to be the stronger, more put-together one who must deal with quirky, dysfunctional parents and friends. It’s not that Delilah Blue lacks insecurities, confusion about her own identity, and definite trust issues. Of course she does. But, in knowing the main character intimately, her mix of optimism, pessimism, and indecision make perfect sense. So much so that I did not read the Uncorrected Proof sent by Harper Perennial, instead I inhabited Delilah Blue and discovered the truth when she did.
Indeed Tish Cohen tells the story THAT personally, realizing it was what she had to do:
“To have the guts to look to my past, my childhood, for what unsettles me most. What really scares me. Because this emotion is exactly what my new book needs.”
Exposing such raw emotions could have made this story dark, instead it is brave and realistically glorious. After reading the post, Guest Tish Cohen on Honest Choices, one knows that the author would not permit anything less from herself or Delilah.
The Truth About Delilah Blue is exactly as Allison Winn Scotch describes it…and more. For this novel is a captivating “must read” about true self-discovery, acceptance and moving forward.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Tish Cohen’s The Truth About Delilah Blue in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.