Event Review: Joyce Maynard Reading at Warwick’s, La Jolla

joyceFor those of you book lovers who have not been to Warwick’s in La Jolla, California, you are missing out on a community worth treasuring. It is rare to find quaint, clean, physical, non-corporate bookstores these days. And for those of you who are not Joyce Maynard fans, you need to hear her speak because you will instantly adore her candor. On September 4th, the New York Times Bestselling Author came into the room with such appreciation and positivity that the audience exploded with applause.

Moments earlier, I had been chatting with several women about their love of Maynard’s domestic newspaper column, if they could decide on a favorite Maynard book, and whether or not the author would go into detail on her relationship with J.D. Salinger. The people who come to Warwick’s are friendly and enjoy casually sharing their personal feelings about the highlighted author and book. So even those, such as I, who show up alone solely with the intention of hearing Maynard speak, can choose to partake in the larger conversation of literature.

Maynard read sections from her new novel After Her, a story that focuses on the relationship between two daughters and their detective father in the midst of his murder case. While their father struggles to capture the “Sunset Strangler,” the eldest daughter Rachael decides to make herself bait in hopes of discovering for herself who the murderer is.  You can find a complete synopsis here. Maynard explains how two sisters in her writing group are the real daughters of the detective who was in charge of finding the “Trailside Killer” many years ago in Marin County, San Francisco. Maynard promises that After Her is not gruesome or bloodthirsty as some horror or murder-mystery stories are. Here the horror is the emotional decline of the family unit. There is a sign of relief from the one Maynard fan who did not read the newest book yet.

She also revealed some other touching personal information, such as her recent marriage.  She had the audience laughing awe-struck as this strong woman admitted that she jumped onto a London subway track to save her son’s leather juggling balls.  Maynard does address the topic of J.D. Salinger, commenting that there rarely is a day where she is not asked about the relationship. Could you imagine still being haunted by something you did when you were 18? That is horror in itself.

Personable is an understatement for Joyce Maynard. The “gift” she gives to herself, Maynard states, is hearing from the audience. She wants to connect with her fans, and write for them. I realized that is what makes an author great. If you don’t believe me, once you listen to Maynard speak, you will see for yourself what a wonderful author she truly is.

Based on another Warwick’s book event that I attended last year, the immense amount of praise I have heard for Warwick’s, and the quality of authors the store has brought in such as Joyce Maynard, readers are destined to have a memorable experience at this mom-and-pop shop, whether or not they have read the guest author’s books.

Tips for future Warwick’s book-event goers:  Get there 10-15 minutes early to get a good seat. You shouldn’t have trouble getting a seat, but if you want a good view, don’t plan on getting there right at the start time. The events are well-known and popular.

Laura Palosaari