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The Truth About Delilah Blue

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Published by: Harper Perennial
Release Date: June 8, 2010
ISBN13: 978-0061875977

 

Synopsis

What if you woke up one day to learn that you were once a child on a milk carton?  This is the provocative premise of The Truth About Delilah Blue.

Lila Mack, formerly known as Delilah Blue Lovett, has felt like an outsider ever since she moved from the gingerbread community of Cabbagetown, Toronto, to Los Angeles with her father when she was eight-years-old.  Now twenty and still struggling to find her way in life, she yearns to become an artist like her long-lost mother, but, unable to pay for classes, she does something quite daring.  She takes a job as an art model, posing nude for a classroom full of students so she can learn from the professor—a decision that lifts the veil of her once insular world.

Anxiety over exposing her body is the least of Lila’s worries when her father starts to become disoriented and forgetful, signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s.  At the same time, her mother re-enters the scene, bringing secrets about the past that will change their lives.  Suddenly, nearly everything Lila knows about herself is a lie, and she has no idea who to trust—her free-spirited mother whom she always believed abandoned the family, or her adoring father, who has begun his descent into senility and is either unable or unwilling to give her answers.  Lila realizes neither parent is what he/she seems and the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all—herself.

The Truth About Delilah Blue showcases Cohen’s talent for finding the humor and heart in the most dysfunctional of families as she tackles the subject of parental abduction and the themes of abandonment, trust, healing and forgiveness.

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Praise

"Move over, Jodi Picoult… There are some books you can’t put down, and others that won’t even let you look away. Tish Cohen’s new novel is both. Try to read it while ironing, and you will perma-press a pinky; do the same while making a sandwich, and you will end up buttering the phone bill. But as the summer’s first terrific beach read, this isn’t really an indoor kind of book anyway. Both of Cohen’s previous novels (Town House and Inside Out Girl) are in development as films, and The Truth About Delilah Blue is sure to follow. She is clearly familiar with the cinema’s propulsive rhythms, and has an almost Hitchcockian sense of how to uncoil audience guts and play double dutch with them. And yet Delilah Blue is a purely domestic drama; no wild-bird invasions or psychotic moteliers in sight, though there may as well be..."

The Globe and Mail

“Tish Cohen knows how to slide us into a story, letting us imagine we might know the pathway. But we are wrong because she is a wonderful storyteller and will surprise us at every turn. She has created a cast of characters who are filled with delicious human frailty and love. If you think you know anything about parental love and misguided choices, think again. Cohen peels away the layers of families and human desires and leaves us with a world of hope.”
–Jacqueline Sheehan, NYT bestselling author of Lost & Found and Now & Then

“A beautifully written, finely wrought, race-to-the-end novel about finding your family, finding a life, and finding yourself. Tish Cohen is the next great thing in women’s fiction.”
– Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want and Time of My Life

“[This] coming-of-age story itself—the transformation of outsider Lila into self-assured Delilah Blue—proves satisfying and will definitely appeal to the crossover audience that straddles YA and adult fiction.”
—Booklist

“Cohen…knows how to focus on character in ways that make readers care.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Cohen’s popular fiction is balanced comfortably between heavy and light; the author employs humour to touch on serious issues, and she has a thing for precocious little-girl characters. Her prose is intelligent and sparkling, her characterization is deft, and she absolutely nails essential details, such as Lila’s habit of doodling on her boots when she’s nervous.”
–Quill & Quire


Excerpt

The only thing that stood between Lila’s naked body and twenty-seven art students was a stiff brown robe that reeked of every petrified model that had come before her. The freshmen boys were the worst, she’d been warned, particularly during first term. They slumped behind easels and art boards, eyelids drooping with the malaise of seasoned artistes, but the moment you dropped the robe, they were horny little ten-year-olds, hunkered down behind the sofa, ogling a tattered copy of National Geographic.

Until this morning, it had seemed the perfect plan. Earn a fine arts degree—an utter waste of paper as far as her father was concerned, and an even greater waste of money—through osmosis by memorizing every word that falls off the professor’s tongue while a roomful of students at L.A. Arts scrutinize and interpret her every inflamed hair follicle, every peeling fingernail, every pore, every scab; then hurry off to reenact the entire lecture in the dirt-floored cellar back home. The paychecks would be paltry, but it wasn’t as if she had mouths to feed, rent to pay. She needed enough to keep her in oil paint and canvas, maybe even a pair of boots that weren’t covered in childish doodles.

Lila had not, she now realized, in a dizzying show of poor timing, given enough thought to the absoluteness of her scheme. She’d prepared herself for the exposure of body parts customarily kept under wraps, but hadn’t delegated a moment’s consideration to her feet. Now, standing on the dirty floor, without the weight of her boots to tether her delicate frame to the ground, she felt so feathery light it was terrifying. As if her bones were made of balsa wood. As if, were the entire class to blow hard enough, she might be swept right up and out the window.

A student with razored bangs and a thrift store blazer shot Lila a predatory grin. She pulled the robe tighter, horrified to find his eyes fixed on her chest. She gave him the finger but not before her heart came loose and snapped against her ribs like a wet towel, taking with it any bit of resolve she’d mustered.

It was a terrible plan.