Willett, Jincy, (c. 2013). Amy Falls Down. Thomas Dunne Books. 324 pages , $24.99.
Amy Gallup is satisfied with her life far away from the best-seller list. But after a hitting her head on a birdbath, she’s got a lot to say.
Amy Gallup has not written anything in 30 years. She teaches online writing workshops to make ends meet and keeps company with her basset hound, Alphonse. She scorns the publishing industry and what it has turned into but does so quietly since she enjoys being a bit of a recluse. After all, things are easier that way.
But then she trips and bangs her head on the side of the birdbath and seems to forget exactly how it happened. No problem. She’s up and everything is fine; until she forgets to cancel the interview that afternoon with a reporter from the San Diego Tribune. But she’s feeling good and quite confident until she forgets why the reporter is even coming and only realizes that she’s waving goodbye to the reporter without any recollection of what transpired between them. As the interview goes viral with reviewers calling her a “genius”, Amy’s career is taking off again and she reluctantly tries to keep up with it. Full of satire and wit, Amy learns to deal with her own demons. But that becomes more difficult as the numbness wears off and she is confronted with the fact that she has become a celebrity.
I was looking forward to a light read and figured that this was going to be a funny book about an aging writer. I was happily surprised to find that it had much more depth than I originally anticipated. Amy Gallup is a character that has all the sarcasm needed to keep most people at bay while still drawing them in with her insights and doggedness. I immediately took to the character because she is not only self-aware but simultaneously suspicious and intrigued by her increasing celebrity status.
Willett has developed a just-short of cynical character (is it a depiction of herself) who is fed up with the publishing industry while wanting to be a part of it again. The bump on the head and subsequent interview are just the type of strange occurrence that can propel any career in this strange connected world.
Excerpt from the author’s webpage (I’m not sure that website would be the appropriate term):
…has a life, as, I’m sure, do you. And yet here you are.”
The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Book Discussion Questions:
1. In a radio interview, Amy Gallup comments that, “There may still be more readers than writers, but surely we’re approaching some kind of catastrophic tipping point.” How does this exemplify Amy’s feeling about the world of publishing today compared to the past?
2. What seems to be stopping Amy from moving on with her life?
3. After reading this conversation with Jincy and editor Thomas Dunne, how could this story be seen as autobiographical?
4. How does the role of “accident” play in all of our lives?
Reasons for selection:
This is another selection from Nancy Pearl’s “Books That Make Great Gifts” list presented in December 2013. I liked that I could read it without having to read the prequel published in 2008 and I was drawn to the unique layout of the book cover. I can’t help it; I do judge a book by it’s cover…initially. In my quest to try new authors, Willett seemed to be a great fit. She successfully combines writing, sarcasm and Southern California. I was not disappointed. And after viewing her webpage, I am an immediate fan!