*This was originally written to appear in the Spring 2017 Edition of Prairie Books NOW Magazine, look for it in Libraries and Bookstores all over Western Canada*
Includes quotes from the author, Alice Kuipers
How can one decision vastly change the course of your life? Saskatoon author Alice Kuipers explores just that in her new novel Me and Me where we follow songwriter Lark, who is faced with a big decision down at the lake one day, and any decision she makes would have big implications for two people. As a result, Lark begins to live the life that results from both decisions, in parallel lives. In the moment, Lark is unable to make a decision, “What I was interested in when I wrote about Lark was the fact she didn’t make a choice at the start of the book. She didn’t know how. She was paralysed. I wanted to explore that paralysis as a writer. Not making a choice is, in itself, a way of living.” Kuipers states of her main character, many people choose to make no choice in the place of making a choice that may be hard, and Me and Me explores just that.
Kuipers originally came up with the idea of the parallel lives at the age of 18, with a rough draft that in it’s entirety stays in a drawer, but it needed the right character to bring the idea to life, “When Lark came to mind, the idea finally had the right character to make a novel that I felt I could share with readers. I think most of us wonder about what life would be like if we’d made a different choice along the way. Lark gets to experience this duality–it’s terrifying and destabilizing, but it shows her that to live fully, she has to pick one life.”
We learn in the novel that Lark had lost her mother to cancer almost three years prior to the start of the novel, and that her father is not in the best of health, there are many layers to this young songwriter. The author tells that Lark “appeared in my head, sitting in her room, writing lyrics, and then she looked up at me, and I just had to know who she was. Weird, but true. I think she popped into my head because I needed to write a character who had many elements to her personality–someone whose life could go in many directions.”
While Lark had appeared to Kuipers, there was still a lot of research that went into her character. Lark is into parkour and song writing, and had lost a parent, all areas that were not Kuipers expertise. Songs written by Lark can be found throughout the novel, and the author listened to numerous bands and read books on song song writing, and eventually turned to someone who taught song writing to help iron out the bumps, “I learned that writing songs is really difficult, although fun. It’s like any writing–the writer’s job is to make it seem easy, but in reality a few lines take a long time.”
My rating: 5/5 Stars – HIGHLY RECOMMEND.