Thursday, February 02, 2017


Yesterday, Moira, Ruth, Hannah and I travelled up to London for the launch of Alice’s first novel, “Ink” (available at all good bookshops!).
I’d never been to a ‘book launch’ before, but I was conscious of a very real, tangible sense of excitement (and cake… and wine!). It was a very lovely evening.
I’ve yet to read Alice’s book (it’s the first of a trilogy). I’ve consciously avoided reading the proof copy so I can read the ‘real thing’.
It’s a Young Adult novel. Its synopsis is this: “Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora's father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all”.
The book has already received some wonderful feedback and, apparently, translation rights have been signed in TEN countries!
At last night’s launch, Alice’s editor at Scolastic read a note she’d received from an Italian editor about “Ink” (I’d previously read it… and it had made me cry). I’d like to share his post and just hope that I’m not treading on anyone’s toes by doing so:
I have three little scars, right between my eyebrows. It’s what varicella left me back when I was a kid, and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the scabs to do their own course. Though, those little signs became me as much as they are the shape of my nose, or my bad temper, or the people I know.
When a couple of years ago my cat scratched my first son closest to his right eye, after the initial dread I just found myself thinking that he was now different from how he was born. Life happened to him, somehow: in a parallel universe, there is a different version of him who has not that scar, who is another him than the one I know. And it’s mutual: the one that he knows is the version of me with the three little scars between the eyebrows.
And I do hope that he won’t forget me.
How I loved to become a book. How I loved to be able to have my ancestors’ tales with me. And, of course, to be a reader.
That was what left me those enchanting first twenty pages of INK I had the chance to read before Bologna’s Fair. That is why I insisted so much with the people from Scholastic to keep me posted about the book with the purest, most honest, crystal clearest idea I had bumped into in a long, long time.
Yet, the final text thought me much more. Our bodies heal, our bodies repair. My body doesn’t tell tales on me for every single mistakes. I might have three little scars, but if they are important is because they are my dad coming home to spend some time with me, my mother taking care of me, my sister trying to cheer me up. They are somehow the legacy of a love. Just as the scar on my son is the sign of a cat, and the dread of a father.
I’m not the right kind of anything, like Leora; but I do think that book can save our souls. Can help us remember.
And yes, now, Alice Broadway, I remember you. I will always do.
It will be such a pride to be the one who will make other people in Italy remember you as well”.
Pretty special when someone writes such things about something one of your daughters has created?
Absolutely. It brought tears to my eyes again as I re-read it this morning (it must be an age thing!).
I will be reading Alice’s book over the coming weeks (of course!). As you might imagine, the prospect of doing so is both exciting and scary… will I enjoy it? Actually, it doesn’t really matter because I know that lots of other people already have. I promise to keep you posted(!)...
A very special time for Alice… and for Dave… and her children… and for all of us in the rest of her family.
Sometimes, childhood dreams really do come true.
Photo: Ruth’s family pic from last night’s book launch.

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