The IHOP Papers--by Ali Liebegott
(disclaimer–neither the book nor this blog entry are endorsed by IHOP, and it is doubtful that IHOP would endorse either due to the content inherent in both this blog and the book)
It’s been a while since I’ve had a real page turner. I have read a few books recently that have been good, sure, but nothing great and exciting and fresh…
Then I met Francesca (otherwise known as Francie). Though surely she didn’t mean to (she already has enough women in her life: Hope from Days of Our Lives, Irene-her philosophy instructor and Maria-her AA Sponsor), Francie swept me off of my feet.
Liebegott truly is a talented writer. Not only did she create an amazing/complex character out of Francesca, but she made it feel as if Francesca was truly alive-and it wouldn’t be a surprise to find her in the next room, chain smoking and typing on her typewriter.
The book is written in what could easily be called stream of consciousness, letting us, the readers, into the innermost thoughts of Francie. We can do nothing but watch and see how Francie handles the muddy waters of her life: we are with her when she goes to IHOP after a day of getting nowhere on her job search (and having just moved to San Francisco in hopes of seducing her philosophy teacher Irene); we’re with her when she’s on the bus in her uniform and someone asks if she’s German and she wonders how does he know? (it’s the IHOP uniform, which makes her look like Heidi of the Alps); we’re with her when she sits in Tumbleweed Cafe with Jenny-someone she never intended to seduce but finds an unexpected relationship with; and we’re with her when she sneaks food from IHOP, converses with her coworkers, and deals with dirty laundry.
Long story short–the reader will be with Francie every step of the way, rooting for this amazing grrrl while all the while wishing to be more like her (or at least know someone like her 😉 )
If you’re looking for a good book, the IHOP Papers may be the book for you! A journey of self-discovery and a fictional memoir of a very troubled but strong grrrl–it’s an amazing book.
So check it out, buy it on amazon, do whatever you need to do to get your hands on it. chances are you won’t be disappointed…
An Excerpt from The IHOP Papers (2007) published by Carroll & Graf
Lots of people hate gay people.
You can tell who they are because they start sentences with, “It’s not like I hate gay people.”
When I took a speech class at a community college, I did my persuasive speech on gay rights. I took the side that it’s wrong to murder gay people. When I went to the library to do research, I was petrified someone would think I was gay, so I tried to seem nonchalant when I asked the librarian where the gay books were.
“Excuse me!” I shouted. “I’m doing a report on gay rights, do you have any books?” It was a reverse psychology of sorts. If I seemed confident about my book request, she wouldn’t suspect I was gay. The blood vessels in my cheeks and earlobes throbbed as I waited desperately for her reply.
She pointed me toward the gay books, probably thinking, “Another little dyke hiding behind a class report.” I grabbed the first one I saw off the shelf and ran to the checkout desk.
My speech ended up sucking, because I had unknowingly grabbed a gossip almanac of gay people through history.
“You should be careful who you make fun of because lots of people are gay, especially famous people like Michael Jackson, Anne Frank, Martina Naratilova, and Janis Joplin.”
Everyone clapped. My speech had a dynamic conclusion like the teacher had suggested on day one.
“Leave them with something to think about,” Ms. Brink had said. I was walking back to my seat surrounded by applause when Ms. Brink pulled on my arm and said, “Can you stay after class for a minute?”
“Sure,” I said, glowing with pride. She’s probably going to ask me to join the debate team.
After the last student gave a speech on the importance of fiber optics in today’s society, everyone filtered out of the room.
“Francesca,” Ms. Brink began, as she walked toward me in her abusively floral pantsuit, “what sources did you use for your speech?”
“The library only had one good book, called Top Secret Gay Stars,” I said.
Ms. Brink then proceeded to lecture me on the difference between reliable and unreliable resources. She said I didn’t know for sure if these famous people in history were gay, especially Anne Frank.
“I’m going to give you a C, since part of the assignment is to do responsible research,” she said.
“Okay,” I said, feeling less disappointed by the C than by the prospect of Janis Joplin might not be gay.