Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Showcase w/ review: The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff



Braff's new novel, THE DADDY DIARIES, chronicles the very topical world of marital role reversal in which current day Mr. Mom, Jay, his wife, and their thirteen- and ten-year-old kids are suddenly plucked from their life in San Francisco and moved by the new company to Florida. Leaving beloved friends and his Northern California sensibility, Jay struggles to keep his family happy through the learning curves. As Jay searches to steer the group straight, he quickly discovers that the tasks of child rearing grow even more complex as kids grow up. Through a series of misadventures with his narcissistic older brother, his lunatic childhood friend, and his increasingly estranged but beloved son, Jay learns that he must tap his own vulnerabilities if he is to be the rock of stability his family so desperately needs.

With spot-on accuracy Joshua Braff tackles the issues that plague us as parents, sons, spouses, and friends as we move through life. The sense of isolation that comes from being transplanted into a new place, the pain of watching a son turn into a stranger as adolescence takes hold, and the raw and blinding love and sense of responsibility to one's family. Through pathos and humor THE DADDY DIARIES captures the relatable, yet unpredictable dance of how families similarly, but uniquely ebb and flow.

A refreshing book on the roles of father in both the family and society!  Rich with observations and filled with truth and humor Braff has captured my heart.  I just loved reading a book from a point of view often not covered and find it was a delight to read!  4 stars!


original-josh_author_photo_dec_2014-1ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joshua Braff grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, and graduated from Columbia High School and NYU. He earned an MFA in creative writing/fiction from St. Mary's College of California. Josh's first novel The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green (Algonquin Books, 2004), about a dysfunctional, Jewish family in late ‘70s was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover pick. Peep Show (Algonquin Books, 2010), his second book, was about a 17-year-old boy forced to choose between his Orthodox mother's life and his father's career in the porn industry. People Magazine raved, "Braff skillfully illuminates the failures and charms of a broken family. That teen longing for adults to act their age haunts long after the final page." Josh lives in California with his wife of almost 20 years and their two kids. He is an avid baseball fan and an accomplished painter who plays guitar and drums. TheDaddy Diaries is his third novel.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. I would say it’s the observations of humans. I aim to tap into the familiar motions of people. There is so much we don’t say when communicating. A narrator can draw out all those unsaid things and hopefully find meaning in their description. I tap into these human cracks, where people long for things they can’t quite reach. I love writing about these places we all face but don’t always know how to discuss.
Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Being my own boss. Interactions with people who want to tell me their thoughts about my work. Understanding that my books will live long after myself.  
Q.  What is the toughest part of being an writer?
A. Coming to a meeting about a huge manuscript, late in the process of a novel, and the only person in the room is me. Alone, left to figure out the massive puzzle, with the notion always floating out there, that it may never work. You have to write well enough so that when you face the work each day there’s a sense that it’s all going to be worth it. Your protagonist needs to be a leader in this sense.    
Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. Probably a college professor. I have taught at the graduate level in creative writing and look forward to doing it again. I taught where I recieved my MFA. St. Mary’s College, Moraga CA.
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Why The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff of course.
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. It’s a broad question so I’ll answer big and broad. The Grapes of Wrath. 
Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Hard question so I’ll go with my gut. I’m like the female protag in, Maybe the Moon, by Armistead Maupin. She’s an actress and a dwarf so she’s hired to be in the ET costume for the filming of the Spielberg hit.  
Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. I was Jacob Green once. Now I’m just the result of him. He’s the protag in The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green.
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. Much Ado About Nothing. Feels upbeat. Unlike anything I’ve lived. 
Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?
A. Having penned important and beautiful prose.
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Spring. I love baseball and flowers.
Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. Others take over when it comes to book covers because it is an art form in itself. Marketing to book lovers is the key. I don’t profess to know how to do this. I love them all. The young photographer on the cover of Peep Show. The smiling and frowning M&M type thingies on The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. The variety of stormy blues on The Daddy Diaries.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. Often authors read in groups of four or five, the audiences are larger and it’s often a lunch event. This time I was with a few authors including Martin Yan, a celebrity chef whose cook books have sold a bazillion copies. During the event, I was asked to choose a name out of a fish bowl of all the guest’s names. I would then read the name allowed and promise to use this name in my next novel. 300 women waited to hear if I’d use their name. I reach in and pull out the name Martin Yan. The audience laughed, Martin and I laughed. I forgot all about it, of course, and why would Martin Yan care if I really put his name in a book I hadn’t started. But alas,  without ever considering the story, I used “Martin,” for one of the main characters in Peep Show. Did you hear that Martin Yan? I came through.
Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. Getting ready to start up again. Nothing yet to report.  
Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. So grateful you agree that books are personal and important and regardless of how they’re delivered to you, you can’t wait to read the next terrific ride. I so hope I can contribute to the books you love.

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