Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Dented Cans," by Heather Walsh

Save $2 today on this much-loved family story, told with humor and poignancy. This book will charm you and touch you. Get it today for 99 cents!

"Insightful and excellent! When I first began reading "Dented Cans," I knew I would be hooked in for the long haul without any effort. The very first page makes you curious and pulls you in to the story, making you want answers to the questions the author arises within the first couple of paragraphs. This story is like nothing I have ever read before. It is at times heart-wrenching, often hilarious and it really makes you stop and think. Are any of our families perfect? Don't we all have some kind of a quirk or some secret we wish to keep from each other and the outside world? These are the questions we stop to ponder when we read Heather Walsh's book.

"There are so many things to love about this book, and yet it is difficult to expand on this thought without giving away the story. The "secret" that is mentioned in the blurb for this book is revealed in a somewhat unusual setting, but I really felt it worked for this book. Where else could a family with such quirks and intricacies figure out what makes them different is actually what holds them together than the Magic Kingdom?

"The author paces this book perfectly, allowing each of her characters to be fully realized before moving on to the end of the book. I never felt like she rushed this or wished it was finished early. It is very apparent that she took the time to nurture these characters and this family until she was proud of them and ready for the world to meet her dynamic cast.

"Reading this book makes you want to stop what you are doing and hug the ones you love. I found myself smiling and getting teary-eyed all at the same time, and it is not often that I am so affected by something I have read. This book is so different than the other genre based fiction I have read in the last few years. Fully deserving of five stars and a recommendation. I will read this one again." 

-- Ionia Martin, Amazon Top 500 reviewer

Dented Cans, by Heather Walsh

A family secret is revealed during an ill-fated—yet hilarious—trip to Disney World.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sampson knows her family is not what you would call normal. Her father compulsively buys dented cans and has a particular fondness for cans without labels, which are extremely discounted because their contents are a mystery. Her mother takes countless pictures of her family and then glues them down into the pages of her scrapbooks, but does not allow anyone to look at them. Ryan, Hannah's mischievous fourteen-year-old brother, is headed straight for the remedial track at the local community college, if he’s lucky. Ben, her eight-year-old brother, is a walking sound effects machine, who prefers to communicate with noises rather than words. While Hannah is focused on escaping her working-class Connecticut suburb, she also finds herself being tugged back home as she worries about her brother Ben.

Hannah’s parents inflict one last family vacation on the Sampson children, a trip that goes comically wrong almost from the get-go. Hannah is forced to confront her family's past in Disney World, of all places, when an emotional argument prompts her parents to disclose a secret they have been keeping from the children for sixteen years. Ultimately, she must decide whether to leave her hometown and not look back, or to focus on helping her family.


Excerpt from Dented Cans

Here is a brief sample, during the trip to Disney World. This is in the voice of Hannah, the narrator of the novel.

We did a few more rides, and then we went to the World Showcase, the section of EPCOT that consisted of pavilions “showcasing” various countries. In reality just a bunch of overpriced restaurants and gaudy gift shops “hawking” ethnic food and trinkets. Before we were allowed to eat lunch, we had to locate a restroom so we could rid our hands of the thousands of germs that only Dad had the ability to detect. Then we spread out across two benches in Italy right next to Alfredo’s Restaurant, where people who actually purchased their food went to eat. It was a good thing we’d brought our own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That and chicken fingers would have probably been a hard ethnic cuisine to place. Maybe the Nutritionally Defunct Pavilion'

Mom began passing out the sandwiches. I felt as if I shouldn’t eat mine, knowing the hard work that went into making it.

“This World Showcase is so boring,” Ryan said.

“This World Showcase is so stereotyped,” I said. “Who knew the only thing Italians do is listen to ‘O Solo Mio’ while they eat spaghetti and meatballs' And if you’re German, you obviously dance the polka. Half of it isn’t even true.”

“Yeah, I didn’t know that Mexicans just hit piƱatas all day. And you can buy your own to whack for just 19.99,” Ryan said.

“Hannah, stop questioning everything. Just try to enjoy it,” Dad said.

Stop questioning everything. I think Dad was just quoting Socrates there. Didn’t he say that' My fellow Greeks, stop questioning everything. Just enjoy. Enjoy EPCOT.

“OK, I won’t point out that Africa, the second largest continent on the planet, isn’t even represented here,” I said.

“We’ve heard enough of your opinion on the matter. Can you please just let your younger brother enjoy this'” Dad said.

Sure. I could keep the truth to myself. Socrates and I were kindred spirits. Perhaps Dad had some hemlock for me to drink?

“Did you bring any canned peaches for dessert?” Ryan said.

I laughed.

“OK, very funny,” Dad said.

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Meet the Author

Visit Heather's website: www.hwalsh.com

 Heather Walsh grew up in North Haven, CT, fantastically close to Pepe's pizza.

She received a B.A. in English at Mary Washington College, which has been renamed to, drum roll please... the University of Mary Washington. They initially tried to rename it after another dead white Virginian because there aren't enough of those schools around, but somehow Mary pulled through. Heather graduated Phi Betta Kappa and summa cum laude, which sounds kind of fancy but really means she took easy classes.

She taught high school English in Brooklyn for one year, where she loved the students but not the system. She then joined corporate America and worked there for too many years as an IT trainer, project manager, business analyst, and SQL dabbler (select * from Dented_Cans).

 Her favorite writer is Alice Munro, her favorite movie is The Godfather Parts I & II (tied for first), and her favorite TV show is The Wire.

She has lived in some pretty neat places, including Brooklyn (kind of before it was hipster-cool to do so), Manhattan, and San Francisco. The unfortunate result of living in these locations is that she has become an obnoxious foodie. She currently lives in Brookline, MA with her husband, Mike DeLucia, and their two children.

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