My most recent novel, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, published ten days ago on September 8. Originally my book launch party was slated for September 10, but that was the date of the Patriots home opener at Gillette Stadium, and I have my priorities.
My publicist understood completely, so the launch was moved to September 14.
A few weeks later, I had to point out that September 14 was Rosh Hashanah, and given the fact that my wife and many of my friends are Jewish, this date would also not work.
Please not that it wasn’t my wife or my in-laws or any of my many Jewish friends who noted the conflict, even though the date was made public and added to calendars for more than a month. It was me, a former Gentile turned reluctant atheist, who first realized the problem.
After I realized the conflict with Rosh Hashanah, we moved my launch again to September 17, which was last night. It meant that I needed to leave Colebrook, CT in the midst of a weeklong trip with my students to a YMCA camp to return home for a few hours, but that was fine.
Better than missing the Patriots game or disrespecting my wife’s holiday.
It was a terrific evening, and I thank each and every person who attended for making it a fantastic night. One of my friends counted well over 100 people in attendance, and I had many surprise guests, including:
- My aunt Paulette from South Carolina, who I haven’t seen in almost ten years and have only seen a handful of times in the last 30 years. She and her husband were traveling to Niagara Falls to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and made a detour in order to attend the event.
- Sarah, a high school student in Rhode Island who I have been corresponding with for almost two years about writing and publishing. I visited Sarah’s high school last year – where my former high school vice principal and nemesis is now principal – and she returned the favor by making the almost two hour trek to Connecticut to join us for the event.
- Sara, my friend and author from Vermont, who has now driven more than two hours to attend my last two book launch events.
- My superintendent, who told me that he would try to attend the event, but knowing the schedule of someone in his position must keep, I hardly expected him to make it. His willingness to give up an evening to support my work meant a lot.
- Many of my fellow teachers and colleagues, including one who had just returned from our YMCA trip hours earlier and was sitting in the front row.
- Maybe best of all, dozens of my former students, many all grown up and some who left my classroom just last year, all sitting or standing (there was a large standing-room-only contingent) in support.
Rather than reading from my latest novel, I spoke about how a high school teacher and an assignment on satire turned me into a writer and launched my first business, and how 20 years later a friend's request that I play Dungeons & Dragons with him and some buddies saved my writing career. I also recommended some books (including The Boy Scout handbook), took some questions, handed out some prizes, and signed many books.
It was an incredibly fun night and well worth the wait.