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Swallow Paperback – December 11, 2009
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"Plank has a knack for combining philosophical opinions, hard-luck family stories, discount shopping triumphs, and gently slapstick humor into a book that makes readers laugh, think, and swallow hard in sympathy." --ForeWord Reviews
"I swallowed it up, no pun intended... The novel is very chatty and engaging... A great beach read." --Gotham Gal
"...As engaging as any book I have read. Although it does seem to be a little long at first, the character development is so appealing that once you start reading you find yourself eagerly anticipating what will come next..." --Examiner.com
"This is not just regional, women's fiction - it transcends any genre... Ms. Plank's first novel is a brilliant show of even greater things to come. She is an author to watch and follow." --The Review Broads
About the Author
Tonya Plank worked as a criminal appeals attorney in New York City. A ballroom dancer and a longtime balletomane, she writes the popular dance blog, "Swan Lake Samba Girl." SWALLOW is her first novel. Praise for "Swan Lake Samba Girl" "Tonya Plank [is] one of New York's most precious assets." James Wolcott, VANITY FAIR blog. "Tonya Plank is one of the blogosphere's freshest, liveliest, least predictable, and most pleasing voices. Long may she samba!" Terry Teachout, author of ALL IN THE DANCES and POPS: A LIFE OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG.
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Speaking of, while some felt the 9/11 setting gave Sophie the impetus to move forward, I felt instead as if the author simply wanted to get her personal 9/11 story out there. It was not necessary to the book, is a complicated issue for many and it feels a bit manipulative to have been dragged into that story. It is a hell and I mean HELL of a thing to have lived through, I am not making light of that and I imagine it would be hard *not* to put your character in your shoes, but it just didn't work for me, for this story.
Additionally, I was left feeling that the final "resolution" was something of a cop-out when the author simply couldn't figure out how *to* resolve some issues. I mean, what would the resolution be in regards to Sophie's family? Stephen? Even Alana. Who knows. Better to just find a location cure and call it a day.
Maybe that's my main issue - at some point, the story became less of a story and more of a fragmented personal journal.
*Apologies for the old-school internet use of asterisks in lieu of bolding or italicizing
And a p.s. to the author or anyone else who might be interested,
In pop culture references, the nude model being splashed with a hose (seen during a gallery event in the book) is generally accepted as evoking one being splashed with, er, something else. In short, the argument over her body type was missing a pretty flagrant message as to the model's agency - as in her capacity to control her situation, not her modeling agency. And if in this case, a hose was just a hose... that still brings pretty strong human rights imagery to mind. But you know, she's so skinnnnny! It just seemed so odd in the midst of several sort of random "feminist" comments to have missed the largest issue with that type of imagery. In particular, given Sophie's dad's line of work, it's not something that would've flown under the radar. I instantly began to dislike Sophie during the scene.
By the end of the book, I was bored and frustrated. The whole Shopaholic-meets-the-real-world angle that I think the author aspired to did not happen.