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Zelda a woman on a never ending path of permanent self discovery. At 14 years of age Zelda ventures out into the big wide world, stumbling, surviving. As she pursues her sojourn she faces obstacles and her fair share of breaks – all filled with a variety of fellowmen. She is flawed, fully aware of her shortcomings often her worst adversary, still she marches on in search of who she is. Brutally honest in telling of her life story including missteps, dubious choices, you quickly become her biggest supporter, her well of encouragement. Zelda embodies a little bit of all of us, she makes due with what surprises come her way without complaint, she deals with life’s curve balls in exemplary form. Zelda is a perfect example of when life gives you lemons, you invent the best tasting lemonade ever.
“Yes, I have done some despicable things, but I am not a despi- cable person. I am merely a person who once tried to be a friend to a boy who was in trouble. A boy I sometimes miss. A boy who couldn’t love anyone best.
So you see I do know something: I know that even though I may have done it badly, even if it made me somewhat crazy, even if it was unreciprocated, mocked, and pitied, I am grateful that I took the risk.”
Zelda’s best attribute – her heart. We cannot hold Zelda solely accountable for all the wrongs committed, she befriended those with faith and trust, not knowing their true character until it was sadly revealed. Despite her disappointment she held little contempt or bitterness, her heart too big. Electing to move forward with the hurt lingering – forgive but don’t forget.
“So simple,” I reply. “Because no matter how much it costs or hurts, I am glad that I have loved.”
Robinson’s outstanding writing and stellar character development cedes a memorable woman, a risk taker, no regrets, she’s paid the price and it was worth the investment. A rather inspiring story from a character delivering her memoir with gusto, bringing you to tears one minute, succumbing to bouts of laughter the next minute. Zelda strikes a cord long after the book is placed on the shelf.
About Betsy Robinson
I grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley and have lived in New York City for forty years. I was an actor for more than a decade and did an amazing array of ridiculous jobs to support that art. Then I became a magazine writer and editor. Now I am a book editor specializing in spiritual and psychological topics. But I write fiction. My new novel The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg won Black Lawrence Press’s 2013 Big Moose Prize and was published in September 2014.
Radio host Jonathan Schwartz tells an anecdote about Stephen Sondheim: When asked if he was happy about selling 25,000 copies of a book, Sondheim replied, “Yeah, but it’s always the same 25,000 people who bought the last thing.” Schwartz believes this is because Sondheim’s work pokes people, throws light on their flaws, makes them squeal, “No, no, don’t show that! Not that!” and this makes many folks uncomfortable. Feeling so exposed evokes a kind of existential hysteria, which people then attempt to explain through hysterical negative criticisms of Sondheim’s work, rather than contemplating their own discomfort. But 25,000 people do like Sondheim–including me.
I like to be poked and my writing pokes. It pokes, makes you laugh, and sometimes cry.
My edit of my late mother, Edna Robinson’s novel The Trouble with the Truth was published by Simon & Schuster/Infinite Words on Feb. 10, 2015.
Paperback, 275 pages
Published September 13th 2014 by Black Lawrence Press