Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Wonder Bread Summer by Jessica Anya Blau and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Congratulations to Jonathan Butters, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: The Son by Phillip Meyer.

This week's book giveaway is another terrific two-fer: one lucky reader will win a copy of both The Wonder Bread Summer (paperback) by Jessica Anya Blau and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (hardcover) by Jonathan Evison.

Jessica recently wrote a memorable My First Time guest blog for The Quivering Pen, featuring--among other things--a naked men's book club.  She also mentioned another reading where an old college friend showed up and Jessica reminded him of an incident which had clung to her brain like Saran Wrap:
After the reading, I approached the old college friend. “Do you remember when you brought the bread bag of cocaine to my apartment?” I asked. “Of course,” he said. “Was it almost full?” I asked. “Because in my memory it was almost full.” “More like three-quarters full,” he said.
That bread bag of drugs is the fulcrum point of her latest novel, The Wonder Bread Summer--a book which Laura van den Berg called "a lightning strike of a novel, sexy and dangerous and aglow with adventure." Here's the plot summary of Blau's new novel:
In The Wonder Bread Summer, loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, 20-year-old Allie Dodgson has adventures that rival those Alice had down the rabbit hole. Or those of Weeds’ Nancy Botwin. Allison is working at a dress shop to help pay for college. The dress shop turns out to be a front for drug dealers. And Allison ends up on the run—with a Wonder Bread bag full of cocaine. With a hit man after her, Allison wants the help of her parents. But there’s a problem: Her mom took off when Allison was eight; her dad moves so often Allison that doesn’t even have his phone number. Set in 1980s California, The Wonder Bread Summer is a wickedly funny and fresh caper that’s sure to please fans of Christopher Moore, Carl Hiaasen, and Marcy Dermansky.

The characters in Jonathan Evison's new novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, also hit the road which is likewise paved with adventure.  Here's the official summary of what goes down in these pages:
Benjamin Benjamin has lost virtually everything—his wife, his family, his home, his livelihood. With few options, Ben enrolls in a night class called The Fundamentals of Caregiving, where he is instructed in the art of inserting catheters and avoiding liability, about professionalism, and on how to keep physical and emotional distance between client and provider. But when Ben is assigned to tyrannical nineteen-year-old Trevor, who is in the advanced stages of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, he soon discovers that the endless mnemonics and service plan checklists have done little to prepare him for the reality of caring for a fiercely stubborn, sexually frustrated adolescent with an ax to grind with the world at large. Though begun with mutual misgivings, the relationship between Trev and Ben evolves into a close camaraderie, and the traditional boundaries between patient and caregiver begin to blur as they embark on a road trip to visit Trev’s ailing father. A series of must-see roadside attractions divert them into an impulsive adventure interrupted by one birth, two arrests, a freakish dust storm, and a six-hundred-mile cat-and-mouse pursuit by a mysterious brown Buick Skylark.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving has just been released in paperback, but the winner of this contest will receive a shiny-new hardback.  And hey, if you don't win the contest, I highly recommend you cough up the 15 simoleons and go buy yourself a paperback copy. It's good stuff, ladies and gents.  But don't just take my word for it--here's what The Boston Globe had to say: "With its extremely cinematic plot and collection of quirky scenes, the novel might remind you of Little Miss Sunshine meets Rain Man....The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is even-keeled, big-hearted, and very funny, and full of hope."

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of both The Wonder Bread Summer and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on June 20, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on June 21.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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