Life follows art
and art follows life
Laura Moriarty finds contentment in both
By Dorman T. Shindler
“IT’S SORT OF INTERESTING how life follows art the mother’s, then from one of the children’s.
andartfollowslife,”muses Laura Moriarty,authorof That child’s perspective of the walk turned into
The Center of Everything, August’s Book Buyer’s Pick, chapter seven of The Center of Everything. The book
during an interview from her home spread out to the past and the future
in Kansas. Referring to developments from there.”
that resulted in her being a single par- That chapter is one of the many
ent, Moriarty—whose novel features powerful moments in a book filled with
a single mom and her preternaturally them, asevidencedinthisexcerpt:“She
mature daughter, Evelyn—admits to takes my hand and pulls me back out
being “sad” that her daughter doesn’t into the long green hallway … I have
have a father. On the other hand, it’s to run to keep up with her, her hand
better than being a parent in the midst tight around my arm, and the white
of a “difficult relationship.” sidewalk is like fire under my feet.”
In 2004, Moriarty, still fresh off the Moriarty’s fears about what others
success of The Center of Everything and thought and said were transferred to
living in New Hampshire after being Leigh, the mother in her new novel,
awarded a George Bennett Fellowship Laura Moriarty The Rest of Her Life, which deals with a
for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter life-changing automobile accident. Just
Academy, became pregnant. She and her baby’s father as the author’s neighbors helped without being judg-moved back to Kansas, where Moriarty began work- mental, so, too, do neighbors assist in the new novel.
ing on another novel. The father got “reacquainted “I love it,” Moriarty confesses, “when a friend says to
with a problematic past,” she says, promptly disap- Leigh, ‘Yeah, sure, people are talking about
pearing from their lives and leaving Moriarty and her you. But what you have to realize is that
daughter in financially dire straits. Worse, they both not everyone is saying something bad.’”
came down with severe bronchitis. With a 3-year-old to raise, a new book
TRAC Y RASMUSSEN
I didn’t know left things on our doorstep. It’s a hum- “There have been some amazing highs
bling thing to be on that side of charity.” and some very amazing lows,” Moriarty
Many of the glowing reviews of The Center of muses when considering the last four whir l -
Everything commented on the unique first-person wind years of her life. “But in the end, I have a
voice that Moriarty developed for Evelyn, whose daughter I love and a job I love. So I guess all the
childhood, young adulthood and unusual relation- craziness was worth it.” C
ship with her mother are the focus of the book.
There were times, says Moriarty, when she was to promote and another book in the plan-too sick to care for her daughter. “We got through ning stages, Moriarty no longer frets about
it because people helped us,” Moriarty tells The what others might think, or even how life
Connection. “And it wasn’t just my friends. Neighbors can sometimes mirror art. She’s too busy!
“The way Evelyn thinks, feels and expresses herself
is very similar to the way I did at ages 10, 14 and 18,”
Moriarty says. “But she isn’t me. I had a very different
family situation than she did.”
In fact, Moriarty, who was born in Hawaii, raised
in Montana and attended college in Kansas, was a
military brat. Her father followed a career in the
Marine Corps, settling down in the Sunflower State.
And although The Center of Everything is an
“amalgamation” of her own life and things she observed, it was Moriarty’s memory that led to the novel’s
origins. In the early ’90s, she was performing volunteer work at a welfare clinic in Kansas City, Kansas. In
one particular incident, a desperate mother (followed
by her children) stormed out of the clinic.
“It was awful,” Moriarty recalls. “I felt helpless and feckless—feelings I would come to know
well as a social worker. I went home and wrote
about it, first from my own perspective, then from
Pennie Clark Ianniciello
Costco Book Buyer
Dorman T. Shindler, a freelance writer from Missouri,
now lives in Australia with his family.
I READ THIS month’s pick,
The Center of Everything,
in hardcover, when the
cover featured a stunning
illustration. One of my as-
sistant buyers read it in pa-
perback, with the cover to
the left. While we couldn’t
agree on the better jacket,
we did agree that the novel
is a fantastic read. Moriarty
creates scenes that
a re so vivid I’m hard-
p ressed to separate
t hem from my own
It also pleases
m e to say that not
o nly is Moriarty a
g reat writer, but
s he’s also a gem of
a person: down-to-e arth and compassionate.
The Center of Every-
thing is available at most
Costco warehouses and at
COSTCO HAS 10 copies of Laura Moriarty’s novel The Center of Everything
to give away. To enter, print your name,
membership number, address and
daytime phone number on a postcard
or letter and send it to: Laura Moriarty,
The Costco Connection, P.O. Box 34088,
Seattle, WA 98124-1088. Or send an
e-mail to email@example.com, with
“Laura Moriarty” in the subject line.
No purchase is necessary.
Only current Costco members are
eligible to win. One entry per household. Entries must be received or
postmarked by September 3, 2007.
Winners will be randomly selected
and notified by mail on or before
October 1, 2007. The value of the
prize is $14. Void where prohibited.
Winners are responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes.
The decision of the judges is final.
Employees of Costco or HarperCollins and their families are not eligible.