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Enchanting Elephant Girl

Jane Devin has written a book. It is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in at least a year. I’ve not read the ending so I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it’s one of my top five, but assuming that Jane nailed the ending it will be.

You see, I can’t finish the book slowly enough, let me explain.

In January I came across a post titled Snooki Makes Me Want to Off Myself: My Rant About Simon & Schuster Dipping Into the Celebrity Cesspool. I’m reasonably certain that Annika or Nina shared it with me, and this post made me fall in love with the author’s writing style. I went through her archives and sent her a note begging to be one of the people who could read her book when it was done. I might have even connected her with an agent, but I don’t think that worked out all that well. Too bad for the agent.

Several weeks ago Jane sent me a zip file with her book in it. Because I don’t pay very close attention I started reading it, got a hundred pages in on day one, and sent her an email saying, “My gawd, you really do punish the protagonist.”

Jane replied to me, “It’s a memoir.”

I gasped, because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading, but I couldn’t not believe it. I’m totally engrossed in the story and Elephant Girl has made me believe in the goodness of people while making me wonder if evil fills vacuums.

The writing is mesmerizing and the path is glorious filled with small victories and larger defeats, but somehow makes me feel alive and empowered. One of my favorite books of all time is The Color of Water, and Elephant Girl reminds me of this so much both in that it’s hopeful without being silly and because of that I’m unwilling to finish the book.

When I read James McBride’s memoir (and tribute to his mother) I stopped reading about thirty pages from the end and started reading a page a day. This way I was able to make the book last longer. I’m 30 pages from the end of Elephant Girl and I absolutely refuse to finish it in a timely manner. I’ll be reading a page a day for the next month. I’m not ready to put it down.

So Jane, this is my apology to you. I’m sorry that I can’t hurry and give you feedback about your book. Thus far it is magnificent and I love it about a thousand times more than I could ever love your blog. I found one typo, but the execution is flawless. Offering you writing tips would be as outrageous as tidying up a Picasso.


11 thoughts on “Enchanting Elephant Girl”

  1. Yes. This. Except I read the entire book. And think about it every day. It’s crept into the crevices of my brain and I can’t escape her beautiful prose. Nor do I want to. Everyone should read this book. 

  2. Sometimes it feels like such a privilege to be a writer, even one who hasn’t published a book yet. To know that something I write moves other people — that my story won’t just be so many words in a self-contained vacuum — that other people relate to it and want to share it, makes me feel connected in the most human way. Maybe others would have to read my book to understand how much that means to me but you know, Jess. And Tanis knows.

    Thank you. So much.

    1.  Jane – from the bottom of my heart? Go ahead and publish it on-demand via’s Createspace.
      A good traditional publisher won’t hold it against you (in fact, in some cases if there’s demand for it in its raw form, a good editor or agent will take you on specifically because it’s already shown that it has a market.)  One of the most successful writers I’ve known since before she was published has the “before edition” and the “traditionally published edition” of her first novel.  It was good when I bought it from a publish-to-demand seller – it was amazing when I bought it from her internationally well known publisher after it had been through their process.

      Meanwhile, the rest of us can read this while Jessica tortures herself slowly through the last 30 pages!

      1. Lucretia, I’ve researched self-publishing and discovered drawbacks that aren’t often mentioned–such as how much of the profit goes to the POD publisher even after paying them for certain services, and how the length of the book narrows the profit–but it’s something I’m definitely considering if the traditional route doesn’t work. Thank you for the kind words and support!

        1. My first novel is about to come out in print.  I struggled for about 6 months, trying to decide if I wanted to have a print version.  My original intent had been to just make it available on Kindle, Nook, ect, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother with the physical version.  (Note:  During this time period I refused to buy an ereader, because I only read print version.)  Eventually the small publisher who wanted to do the print version, wore me down.  So I will be releasing the ereader version at the same time as the print version.

          My point is that though I am a book person, I am hoping that most of my sales come from Kindle, because I get 70 cents on the dollar, and there isn’t a print version publisher in world who gives the author close to that amount.  I will make roughly the same from selling the Kindle version at $2.99 as I will from an Amazon sale of print version at $11.99.

          Your book sounds like it is already building a following.  Is there any downside to doing the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, ibooks, versions now?  If you are already done with the edits, you could put it up so that the folks who are eager to read it, could do so…and then tell their friends.

  3. I love it when a friend writes a really good book. So much better than the alternative – where they are in love with it and you not so much. I expected Jane’s book to be great because everything else she has written has been great. I can’t wait to read it.

  4. I have loved Jane Devin from the moment I “met” her online. Every post she’s written draws me in and always leaves me feeling sad when I come to the end…. but only because I want more. I love her as an author, and I love her as a sweet friend I’ve come to know on a more personal level this last year. I’ve never wanted success for someone else as badly as I want it for Jane. 

  5. Just found her blog through you.  I feel like it’s a privilege to happen upon excellent writing via referrals from other excellent writers.  When I first began blogging and reading others’ blogs I was appalled at how many were corny, overwrought, trite, boring and preachy.  It’s become a true pleasure to visit sites operated by truly outstanding thinkers and storytellers.  Thanks.

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