This is the Story if You
By Beth Kephart
On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland. Nothing will ever be the same. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing disappears. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future. Gripping and poetic, This Is the Story of You is about the beauty of nature and the power of family, about finding hope in the wake of tragedy and recovery in the face of overwhelming loss.
About the Author: Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of nineteen books, including Going Over, Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, and Small Damages. A National Book Award finalist, Kephart is also a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. Kephart teaches workshops at many institutions, to all ages and creative nonfiction workshops at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a popular keynote speaker and frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many national journals. She blogs daily at beth-kephart.blogspot.com
On Writing the Eruptive
I am trying to remember the first time I saw the sea. There are photographs of a little girl in a red bathing suit with a fluffy white collar (imagine) and that is me, by the sea.
But do I remember that moment? Can I force myself to remember?
No, I think. And no again.
But I do remember—I know—how much I have always loved the sea. The tang in the air. The sweets along the boardwalk. My uncle with his rolled trouser pants holding my hand as we walked. I have loved the sea, and I have feared the storms, and I don’t think we can write about anything well if we are not somehow writing but love and fear, memory and imagination.
This Is the Story of You is an eruptive story about a storm and its aftermath. It is also a cohering story about family and love. There is ruin here, but there is also a strengthening, a community that stands back up after the waves are gone. There’s an old woman who gathers the broken around. There’s a mysterious girl who shows up; who is she? There are people missing; will they be found?
I started writing this book and I did not stop. I was locked inside a mad fury. Knowing this storm story had to be told and that I had to tell it.
We writers must love all our books. If we didn’t, how could we go on?
But, truly, I love this one.
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