I am pleased to welcome Julie Justicz today with her new book Degrees of Difficulty.
About Degrees of Difficulty:
by Julie E. Justicz
Publication date: October 1, 2019; ISBN (paper) 978-1-944388-74-4; $15.00; 6” x
9”; 283 pages; Literary fiction/first novel; ISBN (ebook) 978-1-944388-89-8; $4.99
Love is the foundation of family, but at what cost? After Ben Novotny is born with a rare chromosomal disorder that produces profound mental disability and brain-racking seizures, his parents, Caroline and Perry, and their two other children are asked to give more than they have. When Ben is an infant, the care and the fear are constant. The demands and pressure only mount when he and his older brother and sister become teenagers. Ben needs even more from his family, just as Hugo, the athlete and the “good soul”, and Ivy, the ambitious rebel, must carve out their own
identities. Over the span of decades, this deep and understanding novel follow each family member, Perry and Caroline, Hugo and Ivy, as their lives diverge. In Degrees of Difficulty, grace is found amidst heartache, love finds a way after loss.
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“A stunning, heartfelt, and poignant debut”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Degrees of Difficulty is the totally absorbing story of the many kinds of devastation that can wrack a family, no matter its passion to survive intact. Justicz writes with deep feeling and saving wit about her characters who leap, alive and hopeful, off the page.”
—Rosellen Brown, author of The Lake on Fire and Before and After
“It is difficult not to be drawn into the lives of the Novotnys, an Atlanta family navigating a sea of emotions as they struggle to care for youngest child Ben, who is severely disabled….Justicz writes with a deep empathy that still allows for moments of levity. She relates scenes with visual clarity, and her characters, especially Ben, the center of the Novotnys’ universe, are vividly drawn.”
Bold. Original. And spellbinding. Julie Justicz’s story of Ben, a disabled child who demands more than his siblings and parents can give, left me pondering the teetering fragility of family. Written with such tenderness and honesty, Degrees of Difficulty stole nights and weekends, as I found myself yearning to rejoin the journey of Ben’s family. What an astonishing debut.
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here: A Story of Two Boys
Growing Up and An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago “Haunting and visceral, Degrees of Difficulty asks how far we will go to care for the difficult child within and without us. Moved and captivated, I couldn’t put the book down, as Julie Justicz deftly captures the pain and ultimate redemption of love and responsibility”
—Emily Saliers, Singer, Indigo Girls
“Believable characters in a full, vivid world and a story both grounded and transcendent: what more could a reader of fiction ask? Style! Julie Justicz delivers.”
—Abby Frucht, author of Polly’s Ghost, Life Before Death, Are You Mine? Licorice, Snap, and A Well-Made Bed
About the Author:
Born and raised in rural England, Julie E. Justicz moved to the Bahamas when she was ten, and then to the United States as a teenager. She earned a law degree from the University of Chicago and received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As an attorney, advocate and writer, Julie currently works on civil rights issues in Chicago. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her spouse, Mary, their two kids, and two dogs. Learn more at http://www.juliejusticz.com/
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