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Straight Up Paperback – September 19, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Georgia Ella Bishop's life screams "wasted potential." The daughter of a great jazz pianist and a famous news correspondent, she has what it takes to combine her mother's talent and her father's celebrity into one extraordinary life. Her alcoholism, however, thwarts these ambitions even before she can imagine them, and by the time she reaches her mid-30s, all of her chances seem to be used up. When Georgia moves from Baltimore to Lexington, Ky., to make one last attempt to straighten out her life, her social justice–obsessed uncle, her fashion-obsessed cousin and her loving but estranged husband are there to help. Samson, author of the Christy Award–winning Songbird and several other faith-based novels, pulls few punches in this sobering yet sanguine account of God's patience, mercy and eternal optimism in the face of human folly. Samson's writing is characteristically crisp and vibrant—cutting quickly to the heart of her characters and their crises with prose that is emotionally resonant but rarely sentimental. Readers may find events in Georgia's life, particularly her astoundingly bad choices and the surprising consequences she experiences, hard to believe. Still, despite the extremes to which Georgia goes, in Samson's capable hands she becomes an everywoman in whom readers are likely to see at least a glimpse of themselves. (Sept. 19)
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Praise for Straight Up

“Like an expert barrista, Lisa Samson take bits and pieces of her characters’ lives and mixes them into a story that is fascinating and profound. Loss can lift you up…or destroy you. Straight Up shows both options and then lets you decide. Which will it be? This is one good book!”
–Roxanne Henke, author of After Anne, With Love, Libby, and other books in the Coming Home to Brewster series

“What if we chose differently in life? Straight Up is pure Lisa Samson–original, raw, and laced with grace. As always, Lisa’s characters came to life in my imagination, becoming my friends. This book made me cry and also allowed me hope. What a treasure.”
–Robin Lee Hatcher, bestselling author of A Carol for Christmas

“Lisa Samson’s writing is an extravagant gift to her readers. I am eternally amazed at the benevolence that spills so generously from her pen. She is not only a compassionate writer, but a young poet with an old soul, a woman that uses her writing as a dance in which her readers can revel.”
–Patricia Hickman, author of Earthly Vows and Whisper Town

In Straight Up, Lisa Samson draws us into the joys and consequences of this free-will thing called Choice. It is a story that is at once both tough and tender, with Samson exhibiting unusually keen insight into human nature–the longings of the heart, the failings of the flesh, the need for redemption. A powerful read, too important to miss.
–Ann Tatlock, awarding-winning author of Things We Once Held Dear

“Lisa Samson is one of my favorite authors. Her characterization is always brilliant, and Straight Up is no exception. Samson just keeps getting better and better.”
–Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578568862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578568864
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Samson was born in Baltimore, MD. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband Will. Lisa is the mother to three kids, has a cat named Miles, and three chickens: Violet, Camille, and Charlotte.

Lisa's been writing for almost two decades now and doesn't plan on quitting anytime soon. She also runs Luminary, a creative support service for novelists.

Grapefruit juice, potato chips, art, eating good food, watching AMC shows on Netflix, and good conversation with friends and family make her extremely happy. Tomato juice, blue tortilla chips, math, running, watching news tv, and silly conversations about whose kids are better . . . not so much. She loves to paint and read and watch good movies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gina Holmes on October 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been hearing for years that I need to read this author--that she's about the best CBA has to offer. So, when the opportunity came to review her latest release, I jumped at it. I'm so glad I did.

What stood out at first was the beauty of Ms. Samson's prose. Absolutely amazing wordsmithing. Her metaphors are fresh and evocative. Once I got over the lovely writing, I began to appreciate the realness of the characters. Lisa didn't sugar-coat their failings and insecurities. These are people I can relate to. I think we all can.

I stayed up into the wee hours to finish this novel because I had to know what choices these folks would make. While I wondered about them, somehow Ms. Samson had me questioning what choices I would make in my own life and how the consequences would affect my future and those who love me. Straight Up has me clinging to grace in a way I've always longed to.

Straight Up had me laughing and crying within the same paragraph. This is truly a work of art, both because of it's literary merit and because it does what a great novel should ... cause the reader self-examination.

Do I recommend this book? Straight up!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Sutton on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This review was first published on Christian Book Preview's site.

A unique, gripping novel, Straight Up breaks a lot of CBA "rules." The main characters are Georgia--a jazz musician who has neglected her "gift," and Fairly--an interior designer. They were cousins and abandoned by their parents through death. They were subsequently abandoned by their spouses. Fairly's died and Georgia's "found religion."

Both main characters went "looking for love in all the wrong places." Georgia found comfort in alchohol, and Fairly dealt with her loss through her relationships with men. Georgia continues to deteriorate until tragedy occurs. She entered "pink." Without giving you a spoiler, I'll just say that it's a very interesting place where Georgia learns a lot about herself. A minor character, Clarissa, was interspersed throughout the story, but her point of view was in the third person, rather than the first person like Georgia and Fairly's point of view. Clarissa was adopted and somewhat detached from life. She lived in a chronic survival mode and was pretty much rejected and abused by everyone. I felt so sorry for her.

For the longest time I wondered how Clarissa would finally connect with the rest of the "cast," but I won't spoil it and tell you how that happens. Let me just say that it's one of those endings that leaves you thinking for hours.

Straight Up was a gourmet meal for my finicky pallet. Let me explain why. The author gives you a blend of varying dates and characters to begin with to whet your appetite. Now I have to say at first this confused me, but once I got the feel and texture of each main character I savored the meal.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heather Ivester on March 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Although I'd experienced Samson's prose years ago with The Living End, I was totally unprepared for the ride she took me on in this book.

Her lyrical phrases are a joy to read: "Artists flowed through that place in a steady stream like warm butterscotch over ice cream." Another: "Robert Darling lived alone ... except for twenty-two tropical fish that tinseled up the tank, their colors shimmering under the fluorescent light overhead."

Georgia, a child protégé of jazz piano, squanders her potential on alcohol. Even when rescued by the people who love her most, Georgia must make a choice, and her decision becomes yours and mine as well. What will you decide?

Samson's novel allows us to experience this jagged-edged moment of truth from the safe distance of fiction.

--Christian Women Online Book Buzz
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alison Morrow on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been an avid Lisa Samson fan since discovering her books three years ago, and her newest release has confirmed for me once again that my admiration and respect for her as a writer is entirely justified. "Straight Up" is heartbreaking and beautiful, a page turner from the start. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book, however, is Samson's writing: poetic use of figurative language and sentences so rhythmic they practically sing themselves to you. But, in true Samson style, she manages to balance this incredible writing with a conversational approach that brings the characters and story within the reader's grasp--you never feel like you're reading the story, you feel like you're in it. I promise you will not be disappointed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Megan Dimaria on January 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Straight Up may very well be Lisa Samson's best serving of literary delight. Samson has a knack to zero in on the characters she creates in an honest and profound way. Her writing allows you to connect with the good, bad and ugly in her story world--so much so that you want to reach out to hug one character when she needs it or scold another on the choices being made. Straight Up draws you into the lives of three members of a dysfunctional family and illustrates the need for hope and grace in all of our lives. The best part of Straight Up is the "ah-ha" feeling you're left with--a lesson we all need to learn.
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