Me (at the Author’s Booksigning at Baker Books a few weeks ago):  “SO, what’s up with the feather?”

JK:  “You’ll have to read to find out.”

Me:   “Yea, I kinda figured you’d say that.”




Me (to myself on about page 350):  “Oh crap!  I haven’t thought about that darn feather!   It has GOT to show up soon!!!”

Thoughts   Finny by Justin Kramon, Random House Trade paperbacks 2010, 366 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:     I met Justin Kramon at the Book Blogger Convention 201o New York City.   He was unassuming, charming, non-pushy;  like he didn’t have a care in the world.    He took my card and I accepted his.   Within a week, I received a very nice email inviting me to let him know if I would like a copy of his book due out in July (keep in mind, the email was first week of June.)  I said, “Yes.”    When I got the book, I also got a feather.   I wondered…  “What’s up with the feather?”

I still can’t decide if the feather is hugely significant or just a charming feature.  But regardless and nevertheless, the book is CHARMING.   Actually, the more I think back on it, the book has its share of angst, too.

I really did want to read this ever since meeting the author.   When I realized that he would be visiting my favorite local impressive independent bookseller Baker Books, I grabbed my friend Holly and made her attend with me.     She’s reading it right now, too.  IN FACT!   and if that doesn’t prove how much I’m a fan of cool authors and cool Indie booksellers, I gave Holly the copy that Justin Kramon sent me (I kept the feather) and I bought a copy from Baker’s at the signing.    Woo HOO.

FIRST SENTENCE:  “She started life as Delphine, named by her father for the city where the Greek oracle was from, but she’d always had an independent mind about  things like names, so she’d gone by Finny ever since she was old enough to choose.”

I really like this first sentence.   I love a finely crafted first sentence.     I’m impressed before I even get to the 50th word.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:     This book is a coming of age and then some for a young lady named Finny.   She experiences first love and…   And then some.    Let’s break down a coming of age story:    young kid has ideas and frustrations about life, meets some interesting characters, questions all of it, and realizes some good stuff arises up and out of pain and we all have to deal with pain in life.

Finny is so likable even if she has different illusions and questions about what life and how her life is supposed to be or might be.     I loved how Kramon describes time moving by in Finny’s life.    I was charmed by her affection for her brother and her friends.   I admired the quirky characters that orbit her world and how she appreciates them.     I felt COMFORTABLE in this book.      I enjoyed it and enjoyed how it moseyed along.     I’ll admit, I didn’t read this fast.   But I enjoyed every moment I was in Finny’s world – and it did get a bit crazy here and there.

WHAT’s GOOD/not:     Somewhere I heard this was to be a some kind of ‘Dickensian’ novel  – –   aka of/like Charles Dickens?    I can’t tell you how long ago I read a Chuck book or what that might mean so I can’t answer to this.    What I did love was the last question asked of Mr.Kramon during the Baker Books event:   “How and why did you write this book with a female protagonist?”  or something like that.   And the answer was wonderful!  It was one of those cool answers when an author admits something odd and yet totally authorly-like, (and I’m totally going on memory paraphrasing here and I don’t know the proper procedure to be accurate or not), “I had originally set out to follow the character of Sylvan (Finny’s brother) when this precocious red-headed opininated kid Finny, Sylvan’s little sister, piped up at the dinner table in one of the scenes.   I found her much more interesting and the story soon began to follow her.”    Something like that.      Awesome.    I love hearing about how stories and characters come alive and it’s like the author just has to pay attention and write it all down.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS:   I liked this book a lot;  I’m still not sure how to describe it or classify it, but I enjoyed and really liked Finny as a character.     I look forward to reading what Mr. Kramon does next and wish him a successful career as a writer.

Oh!  The feather!   So.  The feather is the fleeting soft almost-missable moments of our life, the momentos that fall from the important things (wings?  power of lift?!)  that mean something important if we only hold on to what we KNOW is important.     (heckadoodle, I don’t know!!)    

RATING:   Four slices of pie – some kind of chocolate with a cup of coffee from a silver server in honor of Mr. Henckel, one of the many charming characters.

OTHER REVIEWS:   So many!!    Read Sophisticated Dork’s review, also posted today.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

21 thoughts on “Finny

    1. Anna, I do enjoy meeting authors. I was sad that I hadn’t already read the book when JK visited my favorite local bookstore but glad that I could bring a friend and now we are both looking forward to Kramon’s second book.

  1. It’s neat when authors have the flexibility to switch the focus of their book to make it work better, AND are good enough writers that bringing a secondary character to the fore doesn’t overuse that character. I can’t wait to read Finny!

    1. I haven’t been to too many author signings but I thought what JK shared about ‘writing’ was very informative. And made me want to be a writer. (sigh)

    1. Kathy, I’m sorry you didn’t get a feather. 😦 So. Did you even wonder about the feathers on the cover or think about it when it came up in the story?

  2. Carrie, thank you so much for this review. It was such a nice surprise to see you at Baker Books! What a fun community bloggers have — and I really appreciate your support of the book. I’m also glad I didn’t make a fool of myself at that reading — always a definite possibility for me. It’s true that Finny just took over the book, and I was so glad she did, because it really was a joy to follow her through life.

    Anna, thanks so much for your note. It’s great to hear that this thoughtful review was able to catch so many things that I hoped would interest people in the book.

    Jenny, I really appreciate your interest! “Flexibility” is exactly the right word, too. I’m thankful that I listened to my instinct and gave the story over to Finny, because she did good things with it.

    Kathy, I’m going to have to fix this with the feather! I must not have had the feathers at the time I sent the book to you. So sorry!

    1. SQUEEEEEE!!!! An author comment!! I’m glad to have read your book and am eagerly awaiting your next.

      Was the feather MEANINGFUL?!??! Really, don’t tell. I like when authors are mum on stuff like this. Keeps up the mystery, don’t you think?

  3. Ruthiella

    Hi Care,

    I take it you will be keeping this book, since it is signed by the author? Thank you for the review. I don’t think this book would have come to my attention otherwise.

    Dickensian: My own personal definition based on having read a few of Charles Dickens’ books (“Bleak House” would be my favorite):

    1.The books are long (generally), with intertwining storylines.
    2.Terrible things happen to good people, however in the end, it all works out.
    3.Many secondary (often quirky) characters who may or may not contribute to the plot.

    So I am guessing “Finny” was described by others as Dickenson due to the quirky characters.

    1. Ruthiella, THANK YOU! Except for not being overly long, points #2 and #3 fit.

      My fave Dickens book is A Tale of Two Cities because I worked very hard on a H.S. paper on all the symbolism and got an A+.

      And nice catch on the fact that I rarely keep books. ha! Yep, I’ll keep this one (until I loan it out and forget to whom.)

    1. Trisha, darn. And I just sent you a book, not that I would have sent this one since it’s signed. I think it’s on tour, maybe you can get a copy??!?!

      PS Expect bookmooch book soon if haven’t received already.

  4. I just started this one and that first sentence grabbed me too. In fact, that whole first chapter charmed me–which surprised me because so much of it was just a description of the characters. Can’t wait to find time to finish it…soon I hope!

  5. Pingback: August is Over, School About to Start « Care's Online Book Club

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