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Carry Yourself Back to Me Paperback – September 20, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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“Deborah Reed takes a long look at love in this graceful novel. The kind of love that ravages and lays waste to her characters, and the kind of love that might finally save us all.”—Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River, and a National Book Award finalist for American Salvage
"Deborah Reed's novel, Carry Yourself Back to Me, marries gorgeous and wise prose with a can't-help-but-read-one-more-chapter plot. In it, Reed weaves a complex story of love and longing that's mysterious, intelligent and full of heart. She had me from page one." –Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
"Deborah Reed writes with stunning precision and grace, and with great insight into the emotional lives of her characters. CARRY YOURSELF BACK TO ME is a suspenseful, entertaining and psychologically complex novel by a gifted new writer." –Andrew Porter, author of The Theory of Light & Matter (Flannery O'Connor Award) and In Between Days
"Written in lush prosaic language, Carry Yourself Back to Me is a study in the range and depth of human emotion, breathing new life into the story of love and loss through the experience of richly-developed characters as they navigate their complex relationships… Reed takes the reader on a narrative journey as lyrical and familiar as the saddest love song.”—PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW
“Reed [writes] beautifully, with a gift for revealing her characters’ pain and strength in equal measures.” —ORLANDO SENTINEL
“Highly recommended… One of the images Reed uses repeatedly and to good effect is that of things being scrubbed clean, refreshed, renewed with a clean(er) slate. And a version of that is what the reader feels upon finishing this book: the mind is filled, yes, but expanded. Reed nudges outward the mind’s corners, broadening the space to fit a new good story.” —BOOKSLUT
“This ain’t no simple love story. It’s more like the story of our lives, rendered up close and very personal. It’s also remarkably akin to how our lives have been put to song by traditional American troubadours, primarily of the Southern variety. That’s not to say Reed’s forlorn tale is the mere literary equivalent of a country song, mind you. But it isn’t very difficult to imagine Patsy Cline or June Carter Cash voicing the sentiments that make this such a compelling debut.” —SUN POST WEEKLY
"Carry Yourself Back To Me is a beautifully written, thoroughly engaging novel. Deborah Reed's prose is lyrical, elegant, and vivid--she is a standout among new American novelists." —Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, and Drinking Closer to Home
"Deborah Reed has written here a novel peopled with real, flesh-and-bone characters—men and women both as good and delightfully flawed as our best friends, our spouses, ourselves. And the icing on this cake is Reed's lucid, lovely prose. Carry Yourself Back to Me is, simply, a pleasure to read." —Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, author of This Life She's Chosen, and Swimming With Strangers
"Deborah Reed's novel, Carry Yourself Back To Me, tells the compelling story of long-held family secrets, romantic entanglements and a small town murder that starts it all unraveling. With deft humor and insight and a marvelous sense of pacing, Reed explores the limits of trust and loyalty, the enduring nature of family bonds, and the clash between illusions and truth in the quest for lasting love." —Jim Tomlinson, author of Things Kept, Things Left Behind (Iowa Short Fiction Award)
"Deborah Reed writes beautifully about the interlocking puzzles of romantic and family love, and the patterns that play out from generation to generation. While her protagonist is a master of the sad song, Reed achieves a symphonic effect–rich, intense and surprisingly joyful." —Dawn Raffel, author of Carrying The Body, and The Secret Life of Objects
"Gritty, lyrical, and suspenseful. The jealousies, desires, and hopes of the characters feel grippingly real. Reed has written a beautiful book." —Deborah Willis, author of Vanishing and Other Stories (finalist for the Governor General's Award)
From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
The book's protagonist is Annie, a singer song-writer, six months after her long time lover and soul mate has left her, breaking her heart. Meanwhile, her brother Calder has been arrested for a murder that no one who knows him could ever see him committing. Calder has fallen in love with a married woman, and, when her husband is murdered, Calder is arrested purely on motive.
The book unfolds both in the here-and-now and in flashbacks to Annie's childhood. This leads us to see the characters in all their complexity, which is this book's allure: we come to understand the people and their motives.
This book will resonate in readers' minds. They will appreciate that love is presented in all its messiness: there are choices, there are heartaches, and there is forgiveness
It is the story of Annie Walsh, Singer/Songwriter, who is going through a slump due to being dumped by her boyfriend. I right away thought this was going to be a predictable romantic love story. It is absolutely anything but predictable. Annie is faced with dealing with a brother and his murder charges, a distant mother, even more distant uncle and a blast from the past in the way of a new boyfriend.
The way this author weaves together this story and these characters is remarkable. It takes place in Central Florida, it's Christmas and it is snowing and it is the first time ever for the characters of this novel to see snow. Annie sails through her crisis with her present melting into her past with a satisfying conclusion. This was well worth reading!!
What impressed me about this book was how well it was written and the way the author delved into the
character's pasts to let you understand them in the present. I have never read a more thoughtful and
interesting book about family dynamics. It is a book written about the "good", the "bad", and the "ugly" and
how these characters deal with those issues.
As a stickler for detail, I have only one critisism concerning snow and the mention of avacado
and peach tree crops in Florida. As a life long resident and living outside of Orlando, I have
never seen a peach or avacado tree grove. Rarely, do I see hale.
Don't get me wrong -- I loveloveLOVE chick lit, especially British chick lit! I love laughing out loud and feeling swoony over completely unrealistic fictional men. Carry Yourself Back to Me is meatier than that, though, and I loved it for that fact.
The novel is character-driven, and those characters are so, so flawed. In the opening chapter, the discord between Annie and her brother is so real that I felt Annie's pain at his betrayal and Calder's pain at her refusal to forgive him. And it just goes from there. They make bad decisions and you make a what-the-hell? face, but Reed delves into their minds and shows you why they're making those decisions, and instead of being judgey, you're empathetic. It's magic.
The plot moves a little slowly, which is to be expected from this sort of novel, but it definitely moves. I didn't expect the ending. She was building up to it the whole freaking novel, and I had no idea what she was doing. I read so much that I'm rarely surprised, so I was quite pleased.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very engaging. So detailed and well written. Doesn't give away the story, you have to read to the end to find out who did what to whom.Published 24 days ago by Salvacion Matni
I listened to this as an audio book whilst traveling. Author has a wonderful ability to turn a phrase. Good story. Will read more from this author.Published 27 days ago by Eljai
Quick read. Confusing sometimes. I don't think I would recommend it. Not that it was bad but nothing special. Interesting thoPublished 1 month ago by Sue Hutton
Her writing is a spellbinding experience. CAPTIVATING
When will her next book be available and what will it hold for her readers
This was a good read from the very beginning to the end. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.Published 2 months ago by Tricia Hinson
Quick read.... predictable but easy to enjoy on an afternoon feeling lazy. Good development of characters that allowed feelings for each one.Published 4 months ago by Grateful Mema in San Antonio
Very stilted writing which was awkward and poor. Interesting story idea.Published 4 months ago by Susie Kay
I've read three of this author's books so far, and they're all excellent. Her characters are so distinct and unique. I'll read anything of hers that I can get my hands on. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Theresa Ellson, author