New Jersey: 28 October 2010
for general distribution--
Deirdre, the Wanderer (A Modern Picaresque) by Jonnie Comet
By the age of 15, Deirdre was not happy at home. With a teenager’s optimism she developed a logical plan for getting away and living on the go, on her own terms, which meant not using sex as currency and not doing anything (too) illegal. Her saga unfolds as she tramps from Connecticut to The Bahamas, sailing on yachts, taking odd jobs, coping with abuse and homelessness, and ultimately finding a home with a career, loyal friends, and even love.
Author Jonnie Comet categorises Deirdre, the Wanderer (Surf City Source Media Group) as escapist fiction: ‘It’s credible reality, real settings, real entities, and real history, blended with a fully fantastic story line.’ The story unabashedly combines elements of classic literature, such as Tom Jones and Jane Eyre, each about a solitary character trying to make it while passing through the world, with the theme of youthful self-reinvention as exemplified in The Great Gatsby.
Treating exotic settings as commonplace, the novel also owes much to the ‘armchair-traveller’ genre as popularised by Jules Verne. ‘I originally wrote this book as a kind of “how-to” for running away from home,’ says the author, ‘but, in the events following 9/11, the story’s informational examples would no longer work. Focus for the book was altered from a faux instructional narrative (alá Around The World in Eighty Days) to that of pure fantasy in a now-historical perspective.’
The author readily suggests that ‘female adventurers are always good fiction. Men read their exploits with salacious voyeurism and parental protection; and all women respect bold, independent, yet feminine protagonists.’ Deirdre is appropriately flawed; yet, by her perseverance in the face of oppressive odds and her inherent morality she represents the best stuff of which heroes are made.
About the matter-of-fact depiction of risqué situations, Comet says, ‘It’s just not realistic to assume this stuff would not happen to this character, or any girl in a similar circumstance. She survives drinking, crime, abuse, and legal lurks too; and they’re also described in the story.’ Through adversity the narrator emerges from a self-centred, selfeffacing teenager into an independent young woman. ‘If you read the book you’ve got to feel sorry for her; and I’ve got to give you enough to wince at, weep at and worry about.’
At the end of the book, nothing is permanent; the author, who has sailed, surfed, played rock guitar, and taught secondary-school English, promises that, in the sequels, Deirdre will cover a good half of the world in search of a place she can call home.
Deirdre, the Wanderer is above all escapist fiction of the highest order. It is a beach book, a bus-trip book, a bring-it-along book that will transport the reader to a surreal reality enchanted by the narration of a modest and sympathetic heroine.
Deirdre, the Wanderer, the definitive new Third Edition, is available in Kindle e-text and in paperback via Amazon.com.