Spoiler alert for those who have not yet read Bent But Not Broken.
Leave if you must.
Don't keep reading if you don't want to know what happens to my relationship with Adam.
I end up marrying him.
But I didn't just marry a man, I married his book club. It's called Adam's Book Club, and I believe it has been going on, uninterrupted, for 27 years. I was in it for a while...but I tend to get thrown out of groups.
Of course, I always show up for the Christmas Book Club. I love these friends and have seen some of them right after they have given birth, most of them in ski pants, some of them in hot tubs, all of them drinking wine. Not one of them in rehab.
A few of them make appearances in Bent But Not Broken, so with their permission I am going to show the faces of three of these characters from this group of fine beings that I call, well, best friends.
First of all, here they are, being annoyingly middle-age art directed by me for the album cover of Adam's Book Club in my back yard.
That's Gary, Maggie, Susie, Joe, Mary, Mary, Marcia, Bart and Mark.
(Yeah, yeah, they're all white and were named before Carter took office. They want to diversify but at this point they're too drunk to put out the word.)
But hang on, we're getting to the characters in BENT.
But just before we do, here are a few more of these funsters having fun during the book club.
And now, as promised, I bring you: Hogan, who often appears in Bent But Not Broken as the affable sidekick, the good friend, the guy in San Francisco where the "BIG FIGHT" happened, and of course, he is so much more than that.
Let's hear it for:
BART as HOGAN
I always liked the name Hogan. It's really a last name from my childhood. Seemed like the perfect character name for Bart, the intrepid, the easy-going, the guy with all the newest gadgets, the one you always want along for any occasion. Bart-Hogan, thanks for being in my life and in my memoir (and for the great idea of wearing name tags)!
Next, I bring you: Russell. Russell only has one line in Bent But Not Broken, but it's an important one. Russell, while we were all rock climbing (well, they were all rock climbing, I tried one short climb, started fitfully sobbing out of fear and got the hell out of those carabiners as fast as possible) --so while they were all rock climbing, and I was swearing I would never try it again, Russell remarks on how well Adam and I are suited to each other because of our ways with words.
Let's thank him for his gimlet ear and let's give a big hand for:
JOE as RUSSELL
Before we get to insulted Midge (my mistake, awful) let's hear it for Susie, an early bonus here, who simply was not in the book. She had a name tag, a Sharpie, some time and some wit.
Enjoy this one:
SUSIE, NOT in MY BOOK
And lastly there is Midge. There is a short scene in Bent But Not Broken when I make a very off color joke and Midge, well, I really blew it. I was young. I was always pushing things beyond their limit. I went too far. But we made up. And I believe I might be the father of one of her abortions. (Oh Shit! I went too far again!) Okay, I am not the father of anything. But I did once do a flip off the diving board of her pool and I landed flat on my back and in physical therapy for nine months. So, if not her, her real estate certainly got back at me.
Let's give her the biggest respect of all because she deserves it:
MAGGIE as MIDGE
Because of my wretched mouth, or maybe it was just coincidence, my long-suffering husband and I were never invited to Maggie's and Gary's ski house in Whistler. So here she is, rubbing it in, reading my book in that very house. I love when history turns into humor.
MAGGIE reads BENT in WHISTLER, where I am NOT WELCOME (yet)
The fun thing about white privilege is Always having to say you're sorry!
I highly recommend you join a book club as soon as possible. If you have a time machine, why not go back and start one during an earlier era, perhaps the First Gulf War. Some books that came out in 1990:
Jurassic Park, by Michael Chrichton (The cover designed by the very same man who designed my cover: Chip Kidd)
The Bourne Ultimatum, by Robert Ludlum (I never went on even one date with Matt Damon)
Rabbit at Rest, by John Updike (Of course, I thought this thing was written in 1954)
Get Shorty, by Elmore Leonard (I loved the movie Living Out Loud with Danny DeVito & Holly Hunter)
Shrek!, by William Steig (Let's all go clean our ears)
And lastly, friends, speaking of books, clubs and what you can do to save literature on the planet, please buy my book if you have not, and please go to Amazon and Good Reads and give me the best review you can cough up. Sales are brisk, but no one minds an occasional gale of affirmation to push up the ranking. Oof. There. I asked for it. And though I don't need new shoes right now, I will eventually.
My favorite books ever that pop into my head without much thought?:
To the Lighthouse
On the Road
And thank-you Adam's Book Club for being such a big part of my life, Adam's life, and the backbone of the Southern California reading-eating-and-drinking scene.