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Bad Apple Paperback – August 13, 2012
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About the Author
Kristi Petersen Schoonover is the author of the short story collection Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney, and her short fiction has appeared in Carpe Articulum Literary Review, Full of Crow, Eclectic Flash, The Adirondack Review, Barbaric Yawp, The Illuminata, Macabre Cadaver, Morpheus Tales, Citizen Culture, MudRock: Stories & Tales, New Witch Magazine, Spilt Milk, Toasted Cheese, and a host of others, including several anthologies. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and is the recipient of Norman Mailer Writers Colony Winter 2010 and 2011 Residencies. She hosts the paranormal fiction segment on The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show broadcast and serves as an editor for Read Short Fiction. You can visit her online at www.kristipetersenschoonover.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Normally, when I read, I will stop at the end of a particular chapter and make a mental note of where I am so I can continue on the next day. I started into Bad Apple before my work shift, which was a huge mistake. Once I started, I was not able to put this book down!! The bad part for me was that the book is broken into "parts", and it was 100 pages in before the second part of the book. I was so invested in the characters, the setting, where the story was going I was absolutely unable to set the book down until I got to Part 2. At work, my mind thought about Scree and Beckitt then entire time I was away from the book. I could not wait to get home and read on!! The shift I work usually puts me home at 2-3 am, I normally am tired and come home to get some sleep. I tried to ignore the pull of Bad Apple when I got home, laid it beside my bed and promised myself first thing in the morning I will open it back up. What wound up happening?? I wound up reading in bed with a flashlight like a little kid because I couldn't sleep thinking about the characters. I promised myself I would only read to part three... and then once I realized part three was only a few pages, I knew I had to finish. To hell with sleep!! I was obsessed at that point as Scree was.
I have not had a book pull me in like that in so long, it was satisfying in so many ways. Since reading Bad Apple, I bought Skeletons in the Swimmin" Hole, and have read her short stories. She sucks me in every time. I highly suggest reading this, and not only checking out Kristi's written work, but also her contributions to Dark Discussion, Tales to Terrify and Crime City Central. Her narration of stories on Tales to Terrify and Crime City were excellent, the woman can not only write a novel that will grip you by the throat and not let go, but can narrate a story and grip you in the same way. She is one of a small handful of new authors I will follow blindly into the pages of whatever she writes next.
Bad Apple is the story of teenage Scree, growing up in a Maine apple orchard among an intriguingly dysfunctional and broken family. She is burdened with household chores that never seem to end, among them the raising of her brother’s baby, Beckitt. Fascinated with patterns, Scree allows dishes to pile up because she enjoys the patterns food and mold make on dirty dishes, and household debris accumulates as a kind of funky art form. Her obsessive behavior seems to indicate unhealed psychological wounds, and rightly so. Deep in Scree’s psyche is a childhood memory of pushing her mother down a well, and the memory surfaces in her life and her choices in surreal ways throughout the story.
Rather than allow the baby she grows to love to follow in her life path, Scree escapes the orchard to a colorful resort. It seems to hold within its walls all that Scree has dreamed for her own life, but facades begin to melt and tapestries of story lines unravel to increasingly reveal the odd, the freaky, the inexplicable, the haunting in her surroundings as well as Scree’s inner landscape. Reality becomes ever more meshed with dreamlike scenarios, and the baffled reader must hang on until the ending for a stunning revelation.
Schoonover is a writer who loves her art and is practiced at it. Bad Apple is not her first novel, and her dedication to excellence in the written word shines here. Descriptions are vivid and tense, reeling the reader into her character’s ever more twisted world:
“My fingers went numb, my toes stiff, my teeth chattered, and my breath came in white puffs: I was instantly freezing. I sat up, and for some reason, I was embarrassed as Adam and Eve in the Garden the second they’d discovered they were naked. I marathoned across the icy broken cabana cement to the door that—strangely—was stuck and took three yanks to open. The wallpaper glared, each stripe a crowbar threatening to bash in my skull. I ran up the stairs, down the hall, tripped over something—what, I didn’t know—and crumpled against a wall mural depicting gnarled, shadow-dark trees under an igniting sky. It made me miss the orchard.
“The orchard that was no longer my home. The mural’s tree limbs swayed and called to me, cursing me for leaving behind the bobbing Gingergolds, the incinerating summers, the raw spring, the moon-indigo winters, the November afternoons when the gray sun was an omniscient eye.” (pg. 150-151)
Kristi Petersen Schoonover is the author of the short story collection Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney, and her short fiction has appeared in Carpe Articulum Literary Review, Full of Crow, Eclectic Flash, The Adirondack Review, Barbaric Yawp, The Illuminata, Macabre Cadaver, Morpheus Tales, Citizen Culture, MudRock: Stories & Tales, New Witch Magazine, Spilt Milk, Toasted Cheese, and a host of others, including several anthologies. She hosts the paranormal fiction segment on The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show broadcast and serves as an editor for Read Short Fiction. An interview with the author is featured in The Smoking Poet’s Summer 2014 Issue #26.
I started this book and kept reading until the end wanting to know just what happens to Scree. Pick your book up today and find out, worth the read. Hat's off to Kristi!!!