September 13, 2010

The Blue Umbrella

The Blue Umbrella, Mike Mason, 2009

When I sat down at a table at the Christy Awards this year, mainly there to hear Lisa Samson speak, I skimmed through the list of finalists and read, with fear and trembling, in the YA category, the title The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason. I immediately scanned the room, wondering if he was there. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have a chance to shake his hand and tell him how much his writing has touched me, particularly The Mystery of Marriage, which exploded my brain when I read it, and The Gospel According to Job, which was invaluable when I was writing Escape from Fred.

At that moment Donna Kehoe, the force behind the awards, happened to walk up to my table. I jumped up, pointed to the entry, and asked if this was the Mike Mason. She confirmed that it was. I then asked if he was present. Sadly, he was not.

I didn't even realize Mason had written a novel and immediately upon returning home I ordered a copy, along with some non-fiction books by Mason that had escaped my notice.

If you've never heard of Mason, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of The Mystery of Marriage post haste, regardless of whether you are married or never even plan to be married. In the mid 80s I ran across it in a bookstore and read the preface. I was so astounded I bought it on the spot. The rest did not disappoint. In fact, on my first website, constructed way back in the 90s, I posted selected quotes from The Mystery of Marriage to convince others that they should read it immediately. Obviously it worked, because it's sold over 200,000 copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Need I say more?

Regarding The Blue Umbrella, I'm not sure what I think at present. I'd like to hear the thoughts of others. Give it a read and drop me a line.

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