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Among the Branded: A Novel Paperback – April 28, 2017
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About the Author
Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer--ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She's currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she's behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. For more information, visit her website at lindasmolkin.com and follow her on Twitter @lindasmolkin and Facebook @AuthorLindaSmolkin.
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Among the Branded
I loved the characters: They are real and relatable for all of us who work full-time; manage a family; have lost loved ones; value our quirky families; or make important, deep connections with friends. The tone of the book is also very relatable—it’s light, funny, and conversational despite the somberness of the underlying topic. The plot is complicated and interwoven, in ways that life often is. All of this makes for a real page-turner. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
As I was reading, I easily pictured this being a movie, though the final confrontation at the end would need to be embellished with a kidnapping, attempted murder, or some other dramatic effect for the big screen.
Among the Branded is a book that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. Matter of fact, I want to go back and reread it in order to catch all the subtleties I likely missed the first time around. This is a great, impactful debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Smolkin.
Personally, I felt I was sort of 'dragged' along at times. (If I had any writing talent myself, I'm sure I could explain/clarify exactly what I mean!)
However, I would recomend and read this author again.
Linda Smolkin’s Among the Branded explores family, history, and difficult decisions. The novel is set in the present day, but the historical component is the heartbreaking part. The main character finds a letter that changes and enriches her life. The characters are strong and stick with you even when you finish the story because you admire their strength. It is a compelling debut novel.
What I found most surprising about the novel was the thoughtful questions Smolkin would subtly introduce throughout key points in the story – questions such as, who would want to volunteer to dress up as an SS officer in a World War II re-enactment? That is the tip of the iceberg. Among the Branded asks us what we owe the past and our ancestors. It asks us how and why we ought to remember the past. Smolkin asks great questions that linger.
I also loved the inter-generational approach to memory. I have heard it said that we have “genetic memory” that compels us to tell our stories – the stories that matter the most to us – ad to pass them down generation after generation. Smolkin’s is a thoughtful novel that will stay with you long after you read it.