Who was to know that a book completed in a time of such pain and agony would become a comfort and inspiration to so many readers? Not me.
The earlier parts of my book, A Good Home, had been written over 25 years. Some of those stories are hilarious, and I hoped that readers would recognize their own experiences and foibles in these stories, and laugh along with me.
But home isn’t always a fun place to be, and my editors, first readers, family and health professionals felt I also had to write about what happens when a home becomes a prison – as was the case after a car accident left me injured and house-bound for long stretches of time.
But the insights I gained — from transcribing parts of those journals into story form — are priceless additions to the book. Once added, it became clear that the story I’d been writing for decades – a story about home and family – was finally complete.
I hoped the book would offer some insights to people going through big changes in their lives – whether it was moving to a new home or dealing with a major life challenge. In fact, this was my main reason for releasing a book that is so personal. But I wasn’t sure how readers would respond.
I got my first clue when a few readers wrote to say “I just couldn’t put this book down” and had stayed up all night to read it. Several readers said they didn’t want the book to end, and actually slowed down their reading of the last few chapters to “savour every word”!
Merri Lynn wrote: “I do not often finish a book sensing a longing for it to continue, a sadness that I have finished it, a desire to know more. Although I read constantly and on a wide variety of subjects, that feeling does not occur often. It just happened with your book.”
On the phone, another reader, Allan, told me:
“Cynthia, your book made me laugh a lot.
And then it made me cry. I wept.”
“I’m so sorry,” I replied.
“No need,” Allan said. “What a wonderful book you’ve written. I’ll probably read it again.”
That’s been a common theme. Many people are re-reading the book. The letters have been pouring in from readers in Canada, the US, the UK, the Caribbean, S. Africa, Denmark and elsewhere. Many are long e-mail letters. Some are short notes — a paragraph or two. Some come in the form of cards and letters, sent in the mail.
One reader, Diane, even sent me a sweet little card of a pink house! (My first childhood home was pink.)
All reveal how deeply they have been touched by A Good Home.
I read every letter carefully. Some take my breath away as they describe the depth of feeling and memory evoked by the book. Some surprise me at the insights they got from A Good Home. And then there are those who re-read whole parts of the book for comfort. One of them is Muriel, a gifted artist who struggles with chronic pain. She’s read the book three times. She’s even turned a few quotes from my book into daily mantras that help her cope.
“As Oprah used to say,” wrote Sandra, “I want to buy all my friends a copy of this book.” And that’s exactly what a number of readers have been doing. Mae, Anne, Lorna, Carol, Keith, Shirley, Karlene and Lloyd all read the book and loved it, and immediately ordered more copies as gifts for family and friends. Many of those friends have done the same. That may explain why some independent bookstores are on their second or third order in a matter of weeks.
Libraries and book clubs are also doing their part. The London Public Library was the first to order my book, followed by public libraries in Waterloo, Kitchener, Toronto and others. And book clubs are selecting A Good Home . What an honour! Thank you.
I didn’t know what to expect when I completed and published this book. I am thankful to you, my readers, for the fabulous way in which you have responded to A Good Home. There will be more news to share in the months ahead, and I will. Thanks again.