Merit Badges: A Novel

Winner AWP Award for the Novel  and Friends of the American Writer Award 

"Impressive vitality, droll wit, and affecting nostalgia. Eminently readable."  -- Publisher's Weekly  

“A beautifully crafted, perceptive and often funny evocation of some extraordinary, ordinary people.  -- Shelf Awareness, Robert Gray’s Top 10 for 2010 (Bookseller Recommendations)

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Photo by Cory Docken

Photo by Cory Docken

Recent writing:   

What Is—And What Is Not—Memoir in the Memoir Project blog

Memoir for Grown Ups in the 10,000 Books Blog. 

Recent enthusiasms: 

Julie Schumacher's epistolary novel Dear Committee Members:   It is hilarious; she pushes the first person in all its vulnerability and quirkiness really hard; she pushes the epistolary form, with all its gaps and constraints, really hard; the narrator is a believable crank; his crankiness is a pointed critique of a skewed system; the letters have a sharp sense of the absurd; the style is playful and smart; the book loves language and rather than killing its darlings, gives them various scholarships and stipends and care packages; because the narrator is so smart, there is no limit to the language he can use. Thus, “semicompetent aphasic.” And, underneath it all, his heart really is in the right place, he is in favor of students and writing and humanistic study. 

Leaving Rollingstone:  A Memoir

"Leaving Rollingstone is the most important memoir to come out of the Midwest (or anywhere) in years, an indispensable work of American autobiography." 

--Patricia Hampl 

Read the Star Tribune review.

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