Monday, September 5, 2011

Jacquelyn Mitchard Looks to Bounce Back from "Financial Holocaust"

Mitchard writing her own comeback. (Wisconsin State Journal, 9/4/2011)

Excerpt: As Mitchard enters the Muskego Public Library for her reading, there’s a nice buzz in the air.

Fans began showing up an hour early to get a good seat. Staff members are scrambling for more chairs.

Erin Shaughnessy, 39, of New Berlin, a high school librarian, says she’s loved Mitchard for years and couldn’t wait to see her. “She’s lived a life that’s very real and very honest,” Shaughnessy said. “Nothing seems put on.”

By the time Mitchard goes on, there are 107 people in the audience. The library has hosted more than 200 guest authors in the past 10 years, and no one has drawn this big a crowd, said the library’s director, Jane Genzel.

Mitchard opens by reading some of the negative reviews her writing has received in the past, laughing along with the audience. (“Why won’t she stop?” asks one reviewer.)

As Mitchard reads a passage from “Second Nature,” the audience sits rapt.

“I’m still feeling the immense emotion you wrote into the book,” one audience member, Patricia Hintz, 56, of Muskego, an elementary school teacher, later says during the Q&A.

As Mitchard autographs books afterward, several people share personal stories of overcoming financial setbacks.

On the drive back to Madison, Mitchard calls the event “restorative.”

“What a shot in the arm to know there are people out there who may read this book.”

She can do this, she says. She can bounce back

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