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10 for everything Paperback – April 1, 2008
All Books, All the Time
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Kann's stories are beautifully painful, exposing those dark, shameful places we all venture to. And while less courageous authors and glossy television shows hint at these places but never fully expose them, Kann rips them open, over and over, until we're finally convinced that the aching humanity we find shameful might not be so rare or embarrassing. In that realization, and with each character's journey, we find hope. Kann's characters, both male and female, are brutally flawed.
Kann doesn't seem interested in feeding us a watered down truth. She wants us to know that we are not alone in those darkest moments, and the hope that keeps us going doesn't always have to be healthy by Oprah-esque standards to keep us moving forward.
Despite the brave descent into our base emotions, Kann's humor continues to ring through. In Disappearing, the main character, Nita, dreams of ascending into heaven with pastel-clad angels who float up to the sky like a supernatural pride march. In one scene, Nita is bent over a toilet, faking illness, realizing that she needs some old-school juju. In The Way Back, she offers a look into Los Angeles that natives would appreciate: It was like Disney people had added a new annex to the Happiest Place on Earth: Hornydrunkposerland.
I want to hand her book to every kid I see in order to show them that what they're feeling isn't abnormal and they aren't alone. Her dialogue reminds me of Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius because she uses language that actually flows from our mouths instead of the flowery verbiage usually delivered on the page.
Kann's piercing truth telling resonates throughout 10 for Everything. The stories weave together in songs of wanting and hope, without providing tidy answers and comfortable, predictable story lines. Kann leaves you wanting - wanting the stories to continue and wanting to know the ultimate outcome of each character's dilemma. But, like our lives, the answers are never given. What is offered is the quiet acknowledgment that those raw, vulnerable places that we try so desperately to hide hold beauty and promise.
10 for Everything gives us permission to be imperfectly human, allowing the reader to relax stiffened shoulders and weary hearts with the understanding that life and love are not the glossy images we re fed but something deeper and more genuine.
--Aldra Robinson --mediacake magazine
About the Author
rachel kann is the recipient of a James Kirkwood Award in Fiction, an LA Weekly Award, and a Backstage West Critic's Pick Garland Award. She performs her poetry with daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra.
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(And if you've never seen this author read, hightail it to Southern California ASAP. You haven't lived until you've heard her perform "Daiyenu.")