Thursday, July 01, 2010

My First Official Review

Just in from Kirkus Reviews... 

I feel elated, yet defensive. The book world is a small community in many ways, and of course my husband happens to be the non-fiction and managing editor of Kirkus, the pre-publication book review magazine with a reputation for being... Eric likes to say honest -- I, having been on the receiving end as an editor like to say, well, they're somewhat brutal. Of course, as an editor, this is what I knew, made Kirkus mean something -- the fact that a woman named Virginia Kirkus had started it out of her New York City home over 70 years ago, based on a passion for books and providing a forum for honest analysis of them, a tradition they carry on today.  My worry is that people in the book business who know us will see this and think it is unearned.

It can be refreshing (if not terrifying) that Kirkus is not here to do anybody any favors. Which was why, when Eric sent my galley off to get its obligatory review, he sent it "blind." To a reviewer who doesn't know who I am, probably doesn't even know that Eric is married, and he blacked out all the distinguishing characteristics -- tore out my author bio page, etc.

When I heard the review was in, my stomach plummeted. But as it turned out, I had nothing to fear... here's the review, below:

A search for faeries—and magic in general—allows former book editor Pike to reclaim a happier, more engaged life.
While working for two different publishers in New York City, a fog of disgruntlement had settled over the author. She was weary of the hustle and bustle, as well as reading piles of manuscripts, but there was also a greater malaise involved. The whole world seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket, and somewhere along the line she had lost her sense of wonder and the joy of surprise. She hungered for a little magic and a belief in something to restore the pleasurable ache of innocence and reinvigorate her daily life. So, Pike decided to go looking for faeries. One of the most appealing aspects of her book is that she does it all with ringing earnestness—even when she’s a witty smart-aleck—and without a hint of frou-frou spirituality. “I wanted to travel the world, find the people who are still awake in that old dreamtime, hear their stories,” she writes. “I was going to find the goddamned fairies.” As the author discovered, there are plenty of them out there, and numerous people for whom faeries are a fact of life to be reckoned with. Through these people, Pike re-engaged with the world in a way that was more typical of her youth. Her deceased father—a complicated, pungent soul who wends his way through the story—had been an energetic guide to the mystery and myth of the outdoors, and he effectively conveyed that to the author, despite her being a fearful kid. Pike writes of her various encounters with faery-believers and faery lands, from New York to Mexico to Ireland to Scotland, in a winning voice that roams freely from melancholy to mirth, incredulity to bright surprise.
“In chasing the beliefs I had as a child, I’d somehow managed to grow up”—into a person easily as captivating as her quarry. -- Kirkus Reviews


  1. Signe, this is so cool! What a great review! I send love & blessings...xxoo

  2. This is so awesome! I'm glad you explained the 'blind' submission to the reviewers, as I was skeptical the second I read it was from Kirkus ;). But this is so great, and I didn't expect anything less of a review than this. Makes me so eager to read it. You must be so proud that everything is coming together so magnificently!

  3. Good for you - just finished an advance copy and we'll be talking for my NPR show. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

  4. Thanks, Susan -- I am so looking forward to speaking with you! You're amazing!!

  5. Your review is fabulous and I am so excited to hold the book in my hands soon to read cover to cover!!! Congratulations!