Martin’s essentials: “Early Morning Riser”
Jane met Duncan less than a month after moving to Boyle City. She had locked herself out of her house and had to ask a neighbor to call a locksmith. She was sitting on the front porch at the start of dusk, wearing her pajamas – she was a second grade teacher and it was pajama day – Nehru Duncan arrived in a rust-spotted white van.
I’m Betty Martin with “Martin’s Must Reads” and these are the opening lines of Katherine Heiny’s fun novel Early riser in the morning. Jane falls in love with Duncan in early 2002, but can’t seem to cope with all of her old girlfriends.
Three years later, the day she is about to marry another man, she sends her mother to drive home a special guest, Ms. Jellico. When they have a fatal accident and Mrs. Jellico dies, Jane cannot stand to continue the marriage. She feels responsible and therefore takes care of Jimmy, Ms. Jellico’s slowly developing adult son.
Soon after, Jane and Duncan reconnect and start a family with Jimmy. Over the next seventeen years you get to know and love some very original characters … Aggie, Duncan’s first wife, and her mad husband Gary, Mr. Robicheaux, the other second-year teacher who is a member lifetime of Hooters, and music teacher, Jane’s best friend, Frieda, who never goes anywhere without her mandolin.
Frieda’s husband Mr Hutchinson once asked Jane if “she had heard any rumors that the town’s water supply was contaminated with wild boar droppings”. It’s a wonderful story of living in a small town where people accept each other for who they are.
If you are looking for a novel that is, as the cover says, “alternately bittersweet and laughter-fun, then you must read Early riser in the morning by Katherine Heiny.