See my review of Monstrous Beauty HERE.
Look! It's my copy of Monstrous Beauty making the trek from the North Shore where I live to the South Shore where the town of Plymouth is located. Google says it should take 1.25 hours to get there. But really that only happens if you go in the middle of the night (Not at rush hour when we traveled). We encountered a bit of traffic, but it was all WORTH IT.
This is the lovely room where the event took place. It is also where Plimoth Plantation holds their annual Thanksgiving dinners. If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend you experience one of them (also the whole site is a must see, but we didn't get to visit the village this day).
Here is the fantastic Elizabeth Fama reading from the prologue of Monstrous Beauty. It was lovely to listen to her read her story aloud, and also hear how to pronounce the difficult-to-say names that are located in the first section of the book. She is a witty and engaging speaker.
Some things I learned about Monstrous Beauty throughout the course of the evening (from the questions part of the program and also from speaking directly to the author and her family):
- Syrenka means mermaid in Polish.
- The character of Noo'kas is based on actual myth, as are many details of the mermaid mythology.
- A lot of the places in the book are real stores and locations in town.
- Plymouth doesn't actually have any caves.
- The book Holes influenced the way in which the author weaved the historical and contemporary plot lines together.
- The character of Hester is a lot like Ms. Fama's eldest daughter Sally. This is according to her son Eric. Sally wasn't present, so I was unable to consult her opinion.
- Japanese animation influenced some of the details of the plot.
- Museum docents get nervous when you ask them about the logistics of stealing from the collection. Even if it is for 'research.'
I didn't even know this picture was being taken - thank you sneaky husband. But it captures the momentous occasion of my book being signed by Ms. Fama, and me fan-girling over her. You also get a tiny glimpse of the tall form of Ms. Fama's husband in this shot. He and my husband commiserated over the fact that they have been drawn into the world of YA books through their wives (really, they love it).
I was able to get my photo taken with both Elizabeth Fama and Syrenka! The drink in my hand was cleverly called a "Mermaid Tale." It was yummy too. Also of note, I was wearing flats and Ms. Fama was wearing platform sandals, so we are of an even greater height difference than what is depicted here.
I picked up an awesome pin of Syrenka that was created by Ms. Fama's youngest daughter Lydia. See if you can guess what scene this is from ;). Seriously, I cannot stress enough how extremely talented her entire family is - they are writers, artists, musicians, illustrators, animators and more. And two of them - Eric and Sally - were very influential in the writing of this book.
What could make the entire evening even better? My husband and I were invited to dinner with the Fama Family (I realize that isn't their actual last name but I like the alliteration). This is the only picture I took at dinner - the wine and a distorted picture of my husband behind it. We had a great a time! THANK YOU Fama Family for good food and even better conversation.