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Joanne Proulx Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
We All Love the Beautiful Girls (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Joanne Proulx lives in the city of Ottawa, Canada, and is a graduate of Bennington Writing Seminars. Her stories have been published in literary publications on either side of the Atlantic.

At one point in her life, she worked as a banker, but while at work each day, she never felt as though she belonged there. After her husband was transferred to France, she started taking writing courses. By the third class, she knew that it was what she wanted to do and what she was meant to do. Six short years later, her first novel got published.

In the year 2007, she published her debut novel, which was titled “Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet”. The novel was given an award for Fantastic Fiction from Canada’s Sunburst Award. It was named the best debut of the year 2007 by The Globe and Mail, and was picked in the year 2008 by Border’s for Best New Voices, which is a prestigious series.

Cameron Monaghan plays main character Luke Hunter in the adaptation of the novel, called “Anthem”.

During the writing of her first book, she would drive her kids to school,with something (artists like Johnny Cash, The White Stripes, and Papa Roach) blaring out of the car stereo. While she was driving, the music helped get her into a creative spot in her brain that allowed her to create Luke Hunter and harness all of his chaos into a story and streaming all of his energy onto pages of writing. Luke loved all the same music that she did. By the time she got back home, she was miraculously ready to begin writing each and every day.

She wrote her second novel (which is called “We All Love the Beautiful Girls”) because the conversation about abuse towards women was coming to the forefront, and “50 Shades of Grey” was becoming a huge hit with women. It was something she could not quite understand or come to terms with.

Through the book, she wanted to look at the power dynamic between both of the sexes and set the story in a liberated Western place. All the while, she would tell a story that would feel familiar to many. Once she started it, however, her characters took over about where the story would eventually go.

Some great advice she got was to carry a note in your wallet that serves as a mantra. Don’t be a wimp, it says. For her, a lot of things had been happening to her, and it was really just a reminder for her to stay brave. It was during this time that she started writing novels, something that she had to wade into doing.

A book called “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris is a book that helped her get through a tough time in her life when her sister was ill. It was a book that her sister read while in the hospital. Proulx’ sister made Joanne feel like it was all right to laugh, with all that was going on.

Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance” is a book that changed her life, and she really enjoyed “Life of Pi”.

“Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” is the first novel and was released in the year 2007. Luke Hunter is able to oddly foretell the death of one of his friends. He becomes pretty big news in a smelly small hometown, which is called Stokum.

He is terrified, but pretends that he is not, and he holds everyone at arm’s length, be they Fang (his buddy), the town’s media, the widow (who is Polish and one of his neighbors). He does so while traversing a minefield that is full of ponderings on an existential level he had not considered before, a gorgeous dream of a girl that is not his, a missing teenager’s mother, and Christian fundamentalists.

Fans of the novel found that this is a funny, wise, hormonal, and exhilarating read. It examines humankind’s need to belong, the isolation that comes with youth. Not to mention the music and noise that blasts its way through everyone, and how powerful the mixture of truth and fear is at times. Proulx is a superb talent that readers hope she keeps producing work; she creates rich characters that are able to take you along on their personal journey, if only for a short time.

“We All Love the Beautiful Girls” is the second novel and was released in the year 2017. One extremely cold night in the winter, Mia and Michael Slate have found out that a business partner and close personal friend has been able to cheat them out of their life savings. That same night, Finn (their son) passes out while in the snow at a party he attended. It is a big mistake that with huge consequences.

Every person figures out ways to cope with the losses that come. Finn has Jess, who used to be his babysitter that comes to his bed during the night, even though she refuses to break up with her boyfriend. For Michael and Mia, they leave behind tenderness and have rougher sex, they also seek some solace with other people. For Mia, it is a flirtation with an old colleague, their empty condo makes for a blank canvas to start a new life on. For Michael, it is a baseball diamond that has been abandoned where he uses a rusted out pitching machine and he has a street kid that is ready and willing to catch baseballs in the old glove Finn has.

The book makes you realize, as the characters do, that everything that happens is connected: the violence against and/or objectification of women, and each and every character is involved. Fans of the novel found this to be wonderfully written of family and love as well as the things that challenge even the most beautiful of people. Both Mia and Michael are complicated and honest characters that are attempting to rebuild their marriage and themselves after a tragedy hits them. At the same time, Finn is irresponsible and charming in a way that only teens can be. There is a real and creative plot, and enough dramatic parts to keep the reader engaged. The novel has no problem making the reader uncomfortable at any moment.

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