Monday, June 25, 2012

grasshopper jungle

Let me tell you: I was so wiped out when I came home last night.

The very last thing I had to do at ALA yesterday was to meet the people at Penguin and my editor there, Julie Strauss-Gabel.

First off, the Penguin people. That sounds funny, doesn't it?

Well, they were all incredibly receptive and enthusiastic about my book, Grasshopper Jungle. Apparently, Julie Strauss-Gabel does not share things around the house until the book is completely finished.

I really like that.

But, the people at Penguin told me they'd never heard Julie say the kinds of things she'd said about Grasshopper Jungle about any book before. Actually, her first words about the book were these:

"Holy shit."

And she also used the phrase, "ridiculously good."

So, naturally, all the Penguin people kind of surrounded me and, in chorus, said:

Tell us what this book is about.

I looked at Julie. I looked at Michael, my agent.

That is the hardest question in the world to answer.

There is a line in the book that says this:

All good books are about everything, abbreviated.

So, with that, Grasshopper Jungle is about genetically modified corn, paleolithic cave paintings, praying mantises the size of grizzly bears, medieval Catholic saints, the Great Depression, war, sex, pizza, cigarettes, American society, Polish immigration, sexual confusion, book banning, love, volcanoes, Iowa, serial murderers, inflatable whales, crystal meth, the Rolling Stones, gay bars, Daniel Boone, lemurs, Gunsmoke, bowling, prescription drugs, and three friends who are the only people in the universe who know it is the end of the world -- and it all started because of a stupid act of bullying in an alleyway called Grasshopper Jungle, behind a dilapidated strip mall in a little recession-emptied Midwestern town.

That's what it's about.

And it's funny. My agent, Michael Bourret, said he felt guilty laughing about the things the book makes you laugh about.

Don't feel guilty.


It's the end of the fucking world.

Grasshopper Jungle will be my seventh published book, and I have honestly never been so excited about getting a book out. Every book that gets published is a thrill, but this one that so flagrantly defies pigeonholing, is really something else altogether.

So I spent some time talking to Julie about the book and how we were going to work on it. Of course, I was a little nervous. I had met Julie several years ago, but it was purely a fanboy moment of starstruck awe on my part.

Now I get to work with her, and that is an amazing, amazing thing.

Today's Instagram topic was Something Cute.


I do not classify things in that way.

I usually avoid the following words: Cute, Adorable, and, especially the loathsome Squee!

But, I have to do my job. So I took the picture below. It is very cute.

Grasshopper Jungle will drop on your brains in October of 2013.